Spurred by a recovering economy, easy credit, cheap gas prices and other factors, 2014 was a year of surging, record-breaking new car sales. There were a lot of winners there, including Chrysler, General Motors, Subaru, and now even Mazda.

This morning Mazda announced that they sold 305,000 cars in the U.S. in 2014, including retail and fleet cars. They that's the best sales year they've had since 1994.

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Strong sellers for Mazda include the Mazda3, which had its second-best December ever, and the Mazda CX-5, which had its best December ever, period. The Mazda6 also had its best year since 2007.

I think this is good news for a lot of reasons. First, we're generally fans of Mazda, because they make normal, affordable cars that aren't insanely boring to drive like most normal, affordable cars are. The Mazda3 and Mazda CX-5 are among the best cars in their classes, and when most people ask me what new car they should buy I usually tell them to get one of those.

Second, it's good because things are tough out there for Mazda. Unlike nearly every other major automaker, they aren't part of some huge conglomerate that can spread losses across the board. The Ford days are over. Mazda's out there more or less alone. They've kind of been in survival mode the last few years, and went five years without posting a profit until 2013.

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In spite of this they keep making cars we want to buy, most notably the 2016 Miata, which looks extremely promising. They're poised to do even better moving forward with stuff like a new Mazda2, an all-new Mazda CX-3 small crossover, and the aforementioned roadster.

I'm still not counting on a new rotary engine anytime soon, but I'll chalk this one up as a win for cars that don't suck.