|Automaker||Nov. 2012||Nov. 2011||Pct. chng.||11 month|
|Ford Motor Co.||177,092||166,441||6%||2,030,107||1,933,654||5%|
|Jaguar Land Rover||4,400||4,735||–7%||49,452||44,475||11%|
|Saab Cars North America||–||356||–100%||–||5,340||–100%|
|Volvo Cars NA||6,141||4,844||27%||61,967||61,898||0%|
Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Lotus
Honda, BMW, VW, Toyota, Mazda set pace as volume climbs 15%
SAAR soars to 15.56 million units on post-Sandy demand, deals
American Honda set an all-time sales record for November, with deliveries rising 39 percent to 116,580 Honda and Acura models. Sales of the Honda CR-V jumped 36 percent to 22,333 units.
Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
U.S. auto sales -- led by BMW, American Honda and Volkswagen Group -- rose 15 percent to 1.14 million in November, exceeding analysts' forecasts and setting the stage for the industry to finish 2012 on a high note heading into the new year.
The annualized industry sales rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, accelerated to 15.56 million -- the highest rate since 15.59 million in January 2008.
Analysts expected November's sales pace to rebound from the 14.3 million rate in October, when Hurricane Sandy dented deliveries late in the month.
The sales rate was 13.6 million in November 2011.
U.S. light-vehicle sales were forecast to rise 12 percent in November to 1.11 million units, based on the average estimate from 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Industry demand has now increased 14 percent to 13.14 million units this year through November and is on track for a third consecutive annual increase of 10 percent or more.
Analysts expect U.S. sales to reach about 14.4 million in 2012 and top 15 million units next year.
"This is an industry that's growing stronger even without the Sandy effect," Jenny Lin, Ford's senior U.S. economist, said today. "We still have a lot of replacement demand, because we have a very aged vehicle fleet on the road."
American Honda -- fully recovered from last year's earthquake in Japan and benefiting from new models -- set a November sales record of 116,580, up 39 percent. Honda division volume surged 41 percent to 104,334, while Acura volume rose 24 percent to 12,246.
"We are now surpassing sales records set pre-recession, a true sign that our business has recovered," John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president of sales, said in a statement. "The new Accord is hitting its stride, and with the new Civic now arriving in dealerships, we're ready for a strong finish to 2012."
U.S. sales of the new Dodge Dart compact totaled 4,489 last month, helping the brand to a 32-percent gain in November deliveries.
'Momentum is strong'
BMW Group, behind a 45 percent increase in BMW brand volume, posted a 39 percent increase in November sales, helped by wider availability of certain models.
"Supply is catching up with demand," Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America, said in a statement. "The momentum is strong in this final month of the year."
VW brand said sales rose 29 percent last month, the 15th consecutive month of gains of 22 percent or more, while Toyota Motor Sales reported a 17 percent increase.
At the Toyota brand, car sales advanced 17 percent to 76,993, with the Corolla setting a November sales record of 22,616, and light-truck volume jumped 18 percent.
"Pent-up demand, record low finance rates and exciting new products are ... driving demand," Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager, said in a statement.
Chrysler Group posted a 14 percent increase in November sales, led by a 27 percent jump in car deliveries and major gains at the Dodge, Ram and Fiat brands. General Motors and Ford Motor Co. produced smaller advances.
Despite mixed economic signals and sluggish job gains, the auto industry's sales advances are being fueled by growing credit availability, aging cars and trucks that need to be replaced, low interest rates and new models.
Falling gasoline prices in November also helped draw some consumers to showrooms, some automakers say.
Lin, Ford's senior U.S. economist, said the industry gained about 20,000 to 30,000 sales in November as a result of Hurricane Sandy. She said much of those sales were merely purchases that were deferred from late October, when the storm hit, with additional gains to come as consumers replace damaged vehicles and buy pickups to help rebuild in the region.
Eyes on Washington
The outcome of talks over taxes and the budget deficit in Washington could also weigh on auto sales in coming months.
"Exactly how much growth we can expect next year will depend in part on how Congress and the president resolve the fiscal cliff issue," Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations for GM, said in a statement today. "Consumers hate uncertainty, so an agreement on ways to reduce long-term federal budget deficits could remove an impediment to growth."
Nissan North America reported a 13 percent increase. Chrysler said Dodge sales rose 32 percent, Ram demand jumped 23 percent and Fiat volume surged 123 percent over November 2011.
At the Chrysler brand, sales edged up 1 percent, while volume dropped 3 percent at Jeep, Chrysler Group said. The company's truck sales rose 10 percent last month.
"We are expecting a strong December as the industry continues to recover from the East Coast hurricane and consumers continue to respond to our popular year-end Big Finish event," Reid Bigland, Chrysler Group's head of U.S. sales, said in a statement.
GM said its November sales rose 3 percent, led by a 30 percent gain at Cadillac and 22 percent increase at Buick. GMC's sales rose 1 percent. Volume was flat at Chevrolet.
Some analysts believe GM's lower market exposure in pockets of the Hurricane Sandy zone -- namely New Jersey and and parts of New York -- hurt the company's ability to capture post-storm sales in the region.
Ford's sales increased 6 percent, aided by demand for fuel-efficient models and pickups, with the Ford division up 7 percent and Lincoln off 9 percent. The company's retail sales rose 12 percent over November 2011. Ford said its car deliveries climbed 15 percent, utility sales rose 2 percent and truck volume increased 4 percent.
The company said Monday it plans to hike 2013 first-quarter North American production by 11 percent -- or 73,000 vehicles -- to 750,000 units.
Ford said it had its best small car November sales month since 2000, with Focus, C-MAX hybrid and Fiesta sales totaling 26,848 vehicles – a 76 percent increase over last year.
Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
Hyundai, Kia records on track
Hyundai division, helped by the Black Friday sales period and increased availability of the Elantra compact, said sales rose 8 percent to 53,487 units last month.
The company added it expects to set an annual U.S. sales record early this month, suggesting it does not see any major consumer fallout after recently admitting it inflated fuel-economy claims on many models.
“We’re encouraged that the 10 percent month-over-month lift firms like Compete have seen in our shopper counts has translated to our best-ever November retail sales and total sales,” John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement.
Hyundai said it also benefited from the "strong sales recovery" in northeastern regions that were ravaged by Sandy.
At Kia, which has also adjusted fuel-economy claims after an investigation by the EPA, sales climbed 11 percent last month and the automaker said it remains on track to set an annual U.S. sales record in 2012.
Among major automakers, GM, Ford, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan and the BMW Group have lost market share this year, while Toyota Motor, Honda Motor, Chrysler Group and the VW Group have gained ground.
Subaru, hobbled for most of 2011 because of inventory shortages following the March 2011 earthquake in Japan, reported a 60 percent surge in November volume and is on track to set an annual sales record.
American Suzuki, which is exiting the U.S. automotive market, said sales jumped 22 percent to 2,224 last month, its biggest gain since February, though deliveries are off 3 percent at 23,412 for the year.
Honda dealers began the month with almost double the inventory available in November 2011. Honda and Acura dealers faced shortages a year ago after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand disrupted production and parts supply. Toyota has also benefited from higher stockpiles.
The U.S. car and light-truck market has been in steady recovery this year, topping out at an annualized pace of 14.9 million units in September, the best since March 2008, and before last month.
Many automakers -- notably luxury brands -- also launched year-end and holiday promotions early this year.
New models and year-end incentives helped sales at Lexus advance 17 percent to 22,719 last month. Porsche reported a 71 percent increase in November volume and said it may set an annual U.S. sales record in 2012.
TrueCar.com estimates average incentives rose 4.4 percent from a year ago to $2,764 in November. Incentives last month also rose about 19 percent from October, TrueCar says, as many import brands, led by Nissan, hiked discounts.
Nissan and GM offered the highest incentives last month, while Toyota, Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen offered the lowest deals, TrueCar estimates.
The U.S. market averaged 16.8 million light-vehicle deliveries annually from 2000 to 2007, but volume dropped to 10.4 million in 2009, a 27-year-low.
Nick Bunkley and Bloomberg contributed to this report
You can reach David Phillips at email@example.com.