CHRYSLER GROUP +45%
Chrysler, which has been doing well all year, further powered up in November, posting the biggest percent increase of any major automaker.
The 200 was again the most popular Chrysler model, as its sales exceeded the old Sebring’s by a factor of six. After a drop last month, sales of the new 300 took off (+215%). So it hardly mattered that the Town & Country stagnated (-2%).
The Grand Caravan is treading water but it just managed to remain Dodge’s bestselling model, in the face of a surging Avenger (+102%) and Charger (+160%). The addition of the Durango, which is now outselling both the Journey and the sinking Nitro, also gave the brand a big push.
The big Ram pickup enjoyed another big month, enough to put it in the number seven spot among all nameplates.
Compass sales had all but stopped last November, so its performance this year looks magnificent; in reality, it did well, but it was just ahead of the Patriot (which is up by half). In fact, all Jeeps are up. The smallest percentage gain (+23%) was posted by the Grand Cherokee, mostly because it was doing quite well a year ago.
Sales of the Fiat 500 slipped further in November.
HYUNDAI – KIA +29%
It was another banner month for Hyundai-Kia, with both brands claiming a best-ever November.
The Elantra (+44%), Tucson (+35%), and Sonata (+12%) led the charge for Hyundai. The Veloster added 2700 units. The only discordant notes were sounded by the Genesis (-10%) and the Santa Fe (-12%).
The Optima has gone from hot to hotter (selling at six times its year-ago pace); the new Rio also more than doubled. Next was the Sportage (+74%). The Forte, however, continues to slide (-22%).
NISSAN NORTH AMERICA +19%
Nissan enjoyed a second strong month in a row, with an assist from Infiniti this time. The highlight was having the Altima again in the Top Five nameplates, and behind only the Camry among passenger cars.
Nissan’s success went beyond the Altima (which topped 20,000 units) to encompass every Nissan nameplate save three: the Juke (-26%), the 370Z (-44%), the Cube (-80%). The biggest percent increases (+38%) were seen in the Versa, which has a redesigned sedan model, and the Frontier, which has no significant changes.
Infiniti was able to turn things around in November, thanks to the G (+12%), the FX (+25%), and the QX56 (+9%). The M slipped (-17%) and the EX is really struggling (-47%).
AMERICAN HONDA -6%
After almost pulling off its first post-tsunami sales increase last month, Honda did worse in November, with its inventory woes compounded by flooding in Thailand. Honda was the only major automaker to suffer a decline in November, and that caused it to drop behind both Hyundai-Kia and Nissan.
The Accord fell (-19%), putting it behind the Fusion, Altima, and Camry. The Civic was about flat, but the Insight and the CR-Z plummeted (-51% and 70%, respectively). Trucks did better than cars for Honda, but it was all due to the Pilot (+38%), as the CR-V slipped (-10%).
The TSX (+4%) was Acura’s only car to increase sales, and it wasn’t much of an increase. The RDX (+12%) was in a similar spot among the SUVs. Sales of the RL (-73%) were predictably terrible -- only 45 cars -- but, hey, that’s twice as many as last month.