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NOVEMBER U.S. SALES

U.S. sales rebound, climb 3.6%; SAAR remains strong at 17.83 million

GM, Nissan lead gains; FCA tumbles as industry sets Nov. record

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AutomakerNov. 2016Nov. 2015Pct. chng.11 months
2016
11 months
2015
Pct. chng.
BMW of N.A.30,79836,546–15.7%328,833365,982–10.2%
    BMW26,18932,003–18.2%280,339311,398–10.0%
    Mini4,5074,4441.4%47,37253,505–11.5%
    Rolls-Royce*102993.0%1,1221,0794.0%
  BMW of N.A.30,79836,546–15.7%328,833365,982–10.2%
FCA US160,827187,731–14.3%2,051,7962,038,9530.6%
    Alfa Romeo2334–32.4%464603–23.1%
    Chrysler14,51827,275–46.8%215,196293,369–26.6%
    Dodge34,07542,955–20.7%470,529481,084–2.2%
    Fiat2,4152,826–14.5%30,13637,303–19.2%
    Jeep67,28576,689–12.3%843,217784,0407.5%
    Ram42,51137,95212.0%492,254442,55411.2%
  FCA US160,827187,731–14.3%2,051,7962,038,9530.6%
    Maserati1,3801,08427.3%10,83810,6252.0%
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles**162,207188,815–14.1%2,062,6342,049,5780.6%
Ford Motor Co.196,441186,8895.1%2,361,4262,365,476–0.2%
    Ford187,012178,9714.5%2,262,4932,275,109–0.6%
    Lincoln9,4297,91819.1%98,93390,3679.5%
  Ford Motor Co.196,441186,8895.1%2,361,4262,365,476–0.2%
General Motors252,644229,29610.2%2,723,6672,792,136–2.5%
    Buick18,53015,96016.1%208,343202,3473.0%
    Cadillac15,32613,39014.5%148,560154,480–3.8%
    Chevrolet169,675156,9078.1%1,883,5511,936,553–2.7%
    GMC49,11343,03914.1%483,213498,756–3.1%
  General Motors252,644229,29610.2%2,723,6672,792,136–2.5%
Honda Motor Co.122,924115,4416.5%1,477,4651,435,6582.9%
    Acura11,61612,244–5.1%144,212160,342–10.1%
    Honda111,308103,1977.9%1,333,2531,275,3164.5%
  Honda Motor Co.122,924115,4416.5%1,477,4651,435,6582.9%
Hyundai-Kia115,011105,5609.0%1,305,9451,269,7792.8%
    Hyundai65,50760,0074.2%712,700698,2022.1%
    Kia52,50445,55315.3%593,245571,5773.8%
  Hyundai-Kia115,011105,5609.0%1,305,9451,269,7792.8%
Jaguar Land Rover N.A.9,0407,60418.9%92,53175,41022.7%
    Jaguar3,3811,065217.5%26,94913,269103.1%
    Land Rover5,6596,539–13.5%65,58262,1415.5%
  Jaguar Land Rover N.A.9,0407,60418.9%92,53175,41022.7%
Mazda N.A.22,04122,732–3.0%269,019289,889–7.2%
  Mazda N.A.22,04122,732–3.0%269,019289,889–7.2%
Mercedes-Benz USA33,49033,4750.0%343,695341,5430.6%
    Mercedes-Benz32,92732,8130.3%338,670334,7281.2%
    Smart USA563662–15.0%5,0256,815–26.3%
  Mercedes-Benz USA33,49033,4750.0%343,695341,5430.6%
Mitsubishi Motors N.A.6,8966,7721.8%88,88487,4551.6%
  Mitsubishi Motors N.A.6,8966,7721.8%88,88487,4551.6%
Nissan North America115,136107,0837.5%1,411,6801,345,6184.9%
    Infiniti12,11211,6943.6%120,095118,4051.4%
    Nissan103,02495,3898.0%1,291,5851,227,2135.2%
  Nissan North America115,136107,0837.5%1,411,6801,345,6184.9%
Subaru of America51,30846,07011.4%551,955526,4014.9%
  Subaru of America51,30846,07011.4%551,955526,4014.9%
Tesla Motors*2,2502,1564.4%24,47523,2115.4%
  Tesla Motors*2,2502,1564.4%24,47523,2115.4%
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.197,645189,5174.3%2,206,3592,260,967–2.4%
    Lexus29,05029,340–1.0%290,046303,221–4.3%
    Scion1701,702–90.0%11,92531,086–61.6%
    Toyota168,425158,4756.3%1,904,3881,926,660–1.2%
    Toyota/Scion168,595160,1775.3%1,916,3131,957,746–2.1%
  Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.197,645189,5174.3%2,206,3592,260,967–2.4%
Volvo Car USA7,7236,90211.9%72,59560,70519.6%
  Volvo Car USA7,7236,90211.9%72,59560,70519.6%
VW Group of America48,87640,66615.3%473,683501,211–5.5%
    Audi17,11816,7002.5%187,018181,8032.9%
    Bentley387188105.9%2,1742,1053.3%
    Lamborghini*86842.4%9469242.4%
    Porsche5,5134,45023.9%50,26547,8205.1%
    VW29,67223,88224.2%285,719318,484–10.3%
  VW Group of America48,87640,66615.3%473,683501,211–5.5%
Other***3052982.3%3,3553,2782.3%
Total1,378,6351,330,4603.6%15,850,64015,844,222–0.0%

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
Note:
*Estimate
**Ferrari split off from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Jan. 1, 2016.
***Includes estimates for Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lotus


GM's 10 percent increase in November U.S. sales reflected a rise of 8.1 percent at Chevrolet, 14 percent at GMC, 16 percent at Buick and 14 percent at Cadillac. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

UPDATED: 12/1/16 7:03 pm ET - adds details

After three straight monthly dips, U.S. light-vehicle sales in November rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier, helped by more generous deals and strong truck demand.

Ford, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and General Motors posted increases in November as a rise in incentive spending helped put the industry back on a winning track.

Industrywide sales hit a record for the month -- 1.378 million -- easily topping the 1.328 million mark in Nov. 2001. Light-truck deliveries, behind double-digit increases in sales of crossovers and pickups, jumped 8.6 percent last month, while the car market continued to slump, with demand off 3.9 percent.

The seasonally adjusted, annualized sales rate remained strong but dropped to 17.83 million from this year’s highest rate -- October’s 17.98 million -- and the 18.07 million pace in November 2015, the second-strongest month of last year.

"That's a great, great market. Any time we're talking mid-17s, that's a wonderful market and a wonderful indication of where the North American economy is," said Bob Carter, vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

A 10 percent gain at GM and a 4.3 percent rise at Toyota Motor Corp. marked their strongest advances this year. Nissan Motor Co. climbed 7.5 percent, while Ford Motor Co. ended a four-month skid. The Volkswagen brand soared 24 percent. Fiat Chrysler was the exception among major automakers, tumbling 14 percent as fleet deliveries shrank.

Continued demand for light trucks amid low gasoline prices helped boost automakers’ results, as well as two extra selling days. Incentive spending last month, including Thanksgiving holiday deals, was up 13 percent vs. a year-earlier but down from October, according to TrueCar data. (See table below.)

The discounts were more generous on remaining 2016 car and truck models. GM dangled incentives that topped $10,000 on some Chevrolet Silverado pickups and Suburban SUV models. Some Hyundai dealers cut prices on 2016 car models by 21 percent to nearly 40 percent, and offered a $100 Visa reward card with the purchase of a new model as part of Black Friday deals.

What’s more, November left the industry in a better position to top last year’s 17.47 million tally. Sales through October were 0.3 percent behind their year-earlier pace after three straight monthly declines.

With November in the books, industry sales are running just 6,418 ahead of 2015's pace. If the industry manages to eke out an annual gain, 2016 would mark the first time in a century that U.S. sales topped year-earlier levels for seven straight years. Sales rose every year in a nine-year stretch through 1917.

Ford's retail sales rose 10 percent while fleet shipments dropped 9 percent. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

Company by company

GM's 10 percent increase reflected rises of 8.1 percent at Chevrolet, 14 percent at GMC, 16 percent at Buick and 14 percent at Cadillac.

GM said sales to retail customers were up 7.9 percent to 197,609 in November while rental shipments jumped 27 percent.

Toyota's corporate increase reflected a 5.3 gain at the Toyota division. Deliveries slipped 1 percent at Lexus.

Toyota outsold Ford Motor Co. for the first time this year after coming close twice this summer. Toyota's margin was 1,204 units to rank No. 2 in the industry, behind GM.

Ford posted a 5.1 percent rise in November volume. Sales rose 4.5 percent at the Ford division and 19 percent at Lincoln. Ford's retail sales were up 10 percent while fleet shipments dropped 9 percent. 

Volume dropped at FCA on sharply lower fleet shipments, a 12 percent decline at Jeep and a 47 percent decrease at the Chrysler brand. It was the third straight monthly decline at Jeep.

Deliveries rose 12 percent at Ram but slipped 21 percent at Dodge and 15 percent at Fiat. FCA said overall retail demand dropped 2 percent and fleet volume was off 42 percent last month.

Sales advanced 7.5 percent at Nissan Motor last month, with deliveries rising 8 percent at the Nissan division and 3.6 percent at Infiniti. Nissan benefited from a sharp rise in November incentives – which averaged $4,209 per vehicle last month, or 12 percent higher than November 2015, TrueCar estimates.

Honda Motor Co. ended a three-month losing streak with a 6.5 percent increase.  Honda division volume climbed 7.9 percent, offsetting a 5.1 percent decline at Acura.

The VW brand’s 24 percent increase ended a streak of 12 consecutive monthly declines in the wake of the automaker's diesel-emissions scandal. VW’s Audi, meanwhile, extended its winning run to 85 months with a 2.5 percent gain.

The VW brand's 24 percent increase ended a streak of 12 consecutive monthly declines in the wake of the automaker's diesel-emissions violations. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

Subaru of America continued its hot streak with November marking the 60th consecutive month of U.S. sales increases. Subaru also set a monthly sales record with 51,308 vehicles sold in November, an increase of 11 percent from a year earlier.

“With December typically being one of the best retail sales months of the year, the Subaru franchise is in a great position to achieve its eighth consecutive all-time sales record in 2016,” said Tom Doll, president of Subaru of America.

Black Friday deals

The early launch of Black Friday sales events helped offset declines in fleet sales in November, said Eric Lyman, TrueCar’s chief industry analyst.

“The retail sales environment remains strong for new car sales,” Lyman said. “Incentives are also down slightly [from October] as automakers begin to address supply side imbalances with planned reductions in vehicle production.”

Steady economic and job growth and the recent rise in U.S. equity prices have also encouraged consumers to make big-ticket purchases, analysts say.

Incentive spending by automakers averaged an estimated $3,475 per vehicle in November, TrueCar estimates.

‘Plateau’

Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation Inc., the largest U.S. new-vehicle dealership group, said there is some relief among dealers and automakers now that the presidential election, and the uncertainty that the campaign cast over consumers, is over.

“I still think we're in a plateau,” Jackson said this week. “There is a point of diminishing returns when whatever you give at the front end in incentives comes off residual values at the back end. We're right at that tipping point.”

Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for Edmunds.com, said luxury vehicles and light-truck demand in December will determine whether the industry hits a new milestone.

“November sales have the industry well-positioned to set a new annual sales record this year, but a new record is far from guaranteed,” said Caldwell.

“Expect to see a flood of ads for holiday season sales events in the coming days and weeks, especially for luxury brands, trucks and SUVs. If we see any year-over-year lifts in these segments in December, then it's a good bet that the industry will top last year's record-high sales."

Nick Bunkley and John Irwin contributed to this report.

Incentive spending in November
ManufacturerNovember 2016 forecast per vehicle% change vs. Nov. 2015% change vs. Oct. 2016
BMW$6,27925%-3%
Daimler$4,660-4.3%-2.3%
FCA$4,15418%-0.7%
Ford$3,98223%-1.9%
GM$4,30513%-3.4%
Honda$1,9366%1.9%
Hyundai$2,46813%0%
Kia$3,1645.8%1.0%
Nissan$4,20912%-0.6%
Subaru$1,145100%4.4%
Toyota$2,4202.7%-0.4%
Volkswagen Group$3,7516.2%-2.7%
Industry$3,47513%-1.4%
Source: TrueCar

You can reach David Phillips at dphillips@crain.com

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