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Toyota Motor sales rise on trucks; Lexus sets record Nov.

Toyota's sales standouts last month included the Camry sedan, up 7.3 percent, the outgoing RAV4 crossover, up 30 percent, and the Sienna minivan, up 12 percent.

LOS ANGELES -- Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. posted a 3.4 percent gain in U.S. sales in November as consumers’ demand for light trucks continued to buoy the automaker and the industry, the company said Tuesday.

The automaker sold 189,517 vehicles in November, with two fewer sales days than a year earlier.

Incentive spending helped.

Toyota averaged $2,273 in incentives per vehicle across its three brands, a 14 percent jump from a year earlier and more than double the industry’s average 6 percent gain over that period, data from TrueCar.com showed. Only scandal-plagued Volkswagen saw incentive spending jump more year-over-year.

Toyota gains

Toyota division posted a more modest 2 percent sales gain, to 154,994 vehicles. The strongest Black Friday in eight years helped fuel sales, said Bill Fay, general manager for the Toyota division.

Standouts included the Camry sedan, up 7.3 percent, the outgoing RAV4 crossover, up 30 percent, and the Sienna minivan, up 12 percent.

“Camry’s increase is certainly good news for Toyota as well, given the growth struggles compact and midsize cars have experienced,” said Akshay Anand, an analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

The light-truck boom only marginally helped the redesigned Tacoma, which sales rose 3.4 percent over the previous version’s year-earlier sales level. Highlander sales dropped 5.5 percent.

Scion also had a good month.

Toyota’s value and youth-oriented brand rode the iA subcompact sedan and the iM compact hatchback to a 33 percent gain over November 2014 for 5,183 sales overall.

Toyota and Scion combined posted a 2.8 percent sales gain, to 160,177.

Lexus record

Lexus had its best November in company history, with sales up 6.8 percent to 29,340. Thanks to the popularity of the NX compact premium crossover and the redesigned RX, which was ramping up during the month, Lexus’ crossover and SUV sales jumped 37 percent. That more than offset a 17 percent drop in Lexus car sales.

Toyota’s luxury arm is on pace to have a strong 2015.

Jeff Bracken, Lexus general manager, said in a statement: “Considering the industry momentum and the strong early sales pace of the 2016 RX, Lexus is well positioned to post its best-ever calendar year sales.”

You can reach David Undercoffler at undercoffler@crain.com -- Follow David on Twitter: @autonews_west

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