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Thanksgiving deals, trucks lift Toyota

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.’s sales rose 3 percent to 183,346 units in November, fueled by demand for SUVs and crossovers.

Lexus posted best-ever November sales of 27,472 units, a 7 percent increase. The Toyota division reported sales of 155,874 units, up 2 percent. Scion’s sales fell 21percent to 3,907 units.

“Auto industry sales during Thanksgiving weekend were even better than expected,” Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, said in a statement. In a conference call this morning, he added that Toyota’s sales rose 5 percent for the four-day Thanksgiving weekend.

Toyota’s SUVs and light trucks fueled much of the growth, lifting its truck division 8 percent. Sales of the RAV4 crossover rose 9 percent to 21,108 units, while the Highlander gained 17 percent to 13,476 units, both November records. Sales for the 4Runner midsize SUV surged 53 percent to 7,180 units.

Toyota’s pickup sales remained about flat, with Tacoma sales rising 3 percent to 13,018 units and Tundra sales falling 4 percent to 9,580.

The Camry sold 28,846 units, a decline of 5 percent as the newly redesigned 2015 model reaches showrooms. About 55 percent of November Camry sales went to the new model, Fay said. He said the sell-down of the outgoing 2014 model is “virtually complete” with the new model now comprising 80 percent of Camry inventory.

Corolla had its best November in eight years, rising 14 percent to 25,609 units.

“We’re having a very good year,” Bob Carter, Toyota’s senior vice president of automotive operations, told Automotive News at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month. “Everything we’ve introduced, going back two years ago with our change in styling direction, with the Avalon, the new Corolla -- we just redesigned the Camry -- the new Highlander, the new RAV, everything has been very well-received.”

Carter said Toyota is optimistic about the automotive market in 2015.

“We’re confident that there are solid economics going on,” Carter added. “Consumer confidence is continuing to creep up, unemployment is heading down. Interest rates are still low. We don’t see any real erratic changes.”

At Lexus, the brand’s No. 1 selling RX crossover was a bright spot, with sales up 20 percent to 9,592 units.

“Lexus set an all-time November sales record thanks in part to the momentum surrounding the arrival of the newest edition to the lineup, the RC coupes,” said Steve Hearne, vice president for sales and dealer development. “As a result, Lexus outpaced the luxury market with strong growth for both passenger cars and utility vehicles.”

The new RC coupe exceeded expectations, selling 880 units despite limited availability, and “created excitement at dealerships,” Hearn said.

You can reach Jaclyn Trop at jtrop@crain.com -- Follow Jaclyn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaclyntrop

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