DETROIT -- General Motors rode red-hot truck sales and a big month from its Buick-GMC channel to a 6 percent sales increase in November.
GM's deliveries totaled 225,818. Retail sales rose 5 percent while sales to rental agencies and other fleet customers grew 11 percent.
GM's revitalized lineup of pickups and SUVs -- all redesigned within the last 18 months -- led the way. GM's truck sales jumped 26 percent, while car sales slipped 3 percent and crossover sales declined 6 percent.
GMC Sierra sales soared 57 percent to 22,544, helping GMC to its best November sales since 2001. Chevy Silverado sales rose 24 percent to 42,799. Dealers say GM offered strong truck incentives during its month-long Black Friday sales promotion.
The booming truck sales coincided with rival Ford's production changeover to its redesigned 2015 F-150, which began shipping to dealers last month. Analysts say Ford has dialed back truck incentives in recent months to conserve remaining stocks of outgoing pickups. F-series sales slid 10 percent.
GM's pickups and SUVs continue to command stout pricing gains from a year earlier, which helped the company to its 26th straight monthly increase in average transaction prices. GM's transaction prices hit a record $35,600 per vehicle in November, up $3,100 from a year earlier, the company said, citing data from J.D. Power.
Chevy edges up, Cadillac down
Buick and GMC sales soared in November amid a Black Friday promotion that offered 20 percent off of the sticker price across both lineups.
Buick posted its strongest November sales since 2003, leading GM's four brands with a 27 percent sales gain. Sales of the LaCrosse sedan and Encore small crossover both rose more than 70 percent.
Chevy sales rose 3 percent. The strong pickup and SUV demand was partially offset by weaker sales of some car nameplates, including monthly declines for the Malibu midsize sedan (down 17 percent) and Impala large sedan (off 30 percent).
But some small-car nameplates posted sharp sales increases, despite a big drop in gasoline prices during the month. Sales of the Cruze compact -- GM's top-selling car -- rose 26 percent. Spark minicar sales spiked 64 percent.
Cadillac continued its slump. Sales fell 19 percent amid steep drops for the ATS compact sedan (down 33 percent), XTS sedan (off 50 percent) and SRX crossover (down 31 percent). Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen has warned dealers that sales likely will sag in the short term as he executes a multiyear plan to raise Cadillac's stature among luxury buyers.
‘People have jobs’
Edmunds.com calculates that GM's incentive spending rose 22 percent in November vs. a year earlier, the sharpest rise among the six largest automakers.
GM said its overall incentive spending, measured as a percentage of its average transaction price, ticked up to 10.4 percent, from 10.2 percent a year earlier, based on J.D. Power estimates from mid-November. The industry average was 9.7 percent, GM said.
Kurt McNeil, GM's U.S. vice president of sales operations, said in a statement that the Black Friday promotion brought buyers into showrooms. But he said continued economic improvement underpinned the strong month.
“More people have jobs and job security, their wages are starting to increase, household wealth is growing and low pump prices look like they’re here to stay through 2015," he said. "All of this helped deliver an exceptional month and it will help keep auto sales at very healthy levels going forward.”