November sales in U.S. market set auto industry on track for a new record

Low gasoline prices, Black Friday deals and postelection confidence helped pull November U.S. auto sales out of their recent slump —and increased the chances that 2016 could set a record for new vehicle sales.

Total U.S. sales rose 4 percent for the month to 1.38 million units. That makes it the highest November on record, beating the previous record of 1.32 million set in 2001, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Toyota Division General Manager Bill Fay said in a statement November sales were so good that the industry may even break last year’s sales record of 17.47 million.

General Motors’ sales jumped 10 percent over last November. Ford’s sales were up 5 percent, while Toyota and Hyundai both saw 4 percent sales increases. Honda’s sales were up 6.5 percent and Nissan’s sales rose 7.5 percent. Even Volkswagen, which has struggled all year because of its diesel cheating scandal, saw sales rise 24 percent.

Fiat Chrysler bucked the trend, with sales falling 14 percent as it made big cuts in sales to rental car companies. Other automakers were expected to report sales later.

On detail

— General Motors Co.’s sales rose 10 percent to 252,644. Its Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands all saw double-digit percentage increases in sales, while Chevrolet sales were up 8 percent. Full-size SUVs were strong sellers; sales of the Cadillac Escalade were up 25 percent while sales of the Chevrolet Tahoe jumped 31 percent.

— Toyota Motor Corp.’s sales rose 4 percent to 197,645. Luxury Lexus sales were down 1 percent but Toyota brand sales rose 5 percent. Low gas prices hurt sales of cars like the hybrid Prius, which was down 16.5 percent, but helped SUV sales. Toyota Highlander SUV sales jumped 67 percent

— Ford Motor Co.’s sales rose 5 percent to 197,574. Lincoln brand sales were up 19 percent thanks to the new Continental sedan and the redesigned MKX SUV. Sales of Ford’s best-seller, the F-Series pickup, were up 11 percent as the new F-250 and F-350 went on sale.

— Fiat Chrysler’s sales fell 14 percent to 160,827. All brands saw double-digit percentage declines except Ram, which was up 12 percent on strong sales of pickups and the ProMaster commercial van.

— Honda Motor Co.’s sales rose 6.5 percent to 122,924, a November record for the company. Luxury Acura sales dropped 5 percent, but Honda brand sales were up 8 percent. Honda’s best-seller, the Accord sedan, saw sales rise 6 percent.

— Nissan Motor Co.’s sales were up 7.5 percent to 115,136, which was a November record. Nissan brand sales were up 8 percent, helped by strong sales of the newly redesigned Armada full-size SUV. Luxury Infiniti sales were up 4 percent.

— Hyundai Motor Co.’s sales rose 4 percent to 62,507, a November record. Sales of the Sonata and Elantra sedans fell, but the Santa Fe and Tucson SUVs both saw double-digit percentage gains.

MexicoNow

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