General Motors' U.S. sales ran at full speed in November - but in reverse gear. The automaker's domestic brands wound up the month 16.5 percent below the year-ago sales pace.
Just as significant, the U.S. market share of GM's domestic brands plunged in November to 24.8 percent, the lowest for any month since September 2002. It was down 3.4 percentage points from last year.
Because of GM's collapse, November was not a good month for the industry. The total of 1,199,272 sales was 4.9 percent below November 2003, which was no bell-ringer, either. This was the worst November since 1998, the year before the current U.S. sales bonanza began.
After 11 months, the industry clings to a razor-thin lead of 0.8 percent over last year. The 11-month U.S. sales total was 15,369,812. An average-to-good December would put the total above 16.7 million sales, which would be the fifth highest in industry history.