U.S. sales surged by double-digit percentages for Toyota Motor Corp., Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Mazda and Volvo last month from a year earlier, with the Hyundai and Kia brands both setting November records. But Ford Motor Co. and Honda reported drops for the month.
"This was a terrific November for sales and especially our lineup of eco-friendly vehicles," Hyundai Motor America CEO Randy Parker said in a statement Thursday. "Despite economic headwinds, we were still able to record an all-time retail and total sales record in November."
Ford sales, in contrast, were down 7.9 percent in November, the company’s third consecutive month with a year-over-year decline. Ford said customer orders have remained strong, but it delivered 15 percent fewer utility vehicles and 8.7 percent fewer F-Series pickups.
However, for all of 2022, Ford’s sales are down only 2.7 percent, versus, 3.5 percent for Hyundai-Kia and 35 percent for American Honda, which posted a 6.1 percent decline in November.
Sales fell 5.2 percent last month for the Honda brand and 14 percent for Acura. Honda’s four top-selling nameplates — the CR-V, HR-V, Accord and Civic — all saw declines in November.
The results come amid rising production and inventory across the industry after the microchip shortage and other supply chain snags limited automakers from being able to meet demand for new vehicles for much of the past two years.
Hyundai said its inventory has more than doubled from a year ago, to 39,898 vehicles at the end of November. That's up from 31,529 a month earlier and 17,096 in November 2021.
At Toyota, brand sales rose 12 percent, while Lexus fell 4.3 percent. Toyota car sales surged 42 percent, including an 80 percent gain for the Corolla, but the brand sold 3.7 percent fewer SUVs.
Mazda Motor Corp. said November sales surged 31 percent to 26,906 vehicles.
Subaru deliveries rose 52 percent. Sales of the Subaru Crosstrek, Forester and Legacy more than doubled from a year ago.
But American Honda posted a 6.1 percent decline from November 2021. Sales fell 5.2 percent for the Honda brand and 14 percent for Acura.
Volvo posted a 20 percent gain.
The rest of the industry only reports U.S. sales on a quarterly basis.
U.S. light-vehicle deliveries were expected to rise from November 2021 as inventory shortages continued to ease. Higher interest rates are increasing customers' monthly payments, but dealerships are now selling fewer vehicles above sticker price — 41 percent in November vs. 50 percent in July, according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.
"November results demonstrate that vehicle production is continuing to improve, with available retail inventory exceeding 1 million units for a second consecutive month and a larger share of manufacturers' production being allocated to fleet customers," said Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power.
"On the retail side, demand continues to exceed supply, as evidenced by continued strength in transaction prices, retailer profits, inventory turn rates and minimal manufacturer discounting. However, as inventories and interest rates rise, these metrics will show signs of either moderation or decline."
TrueCar said November retail sales were on pace to be roughly even with a year earlier but that fleet sales were rebounding significantly from the low levels caused by production disruptions in 2020 and 2021. It projected a 68 percent jump in fleet sales from November 2021.
"Inventories are on pace for a fourth consecutive month of double-digit increases. Consumers, however, continue to face affordability challenges and high monthly payments, keeping many on the sidelines," said Zack Krelle, industry analyst at TrueCar. "To maintain sales momentum, manufacturers appear to be shifting some of the new supply to non-retail sales."