Early indications were that November would see a moderation of new-car demand, but once the final tallies were counted, the Thanksgiving Weekend -- centered around every marketer's holiest holiday, Black Friday -- pushed the monthly totals to a 9% gain over last year. Beating last November was no easy feat, because November 2012 was puffed up by sales to buyers all along the East Coast who had lost cars in Hurricane Sandy. But this November's torrid annualized sales rate of 16.4 million vehicles was much better than we had seen in October, and beat the hottest months from earlier this year. If December can maintain the trifecta of brisk sales, strong transaction prices, and low incentives, it's going to be a very Merry Christmas in the auto industry.
NOVEMBER 2013 SALES RESULTS, AND PERCENT CHANGE VERSUS NOVEMBER 2012.
GENERAL MOTORS +14%
General Motors enjoyed a strong November, with all four divisions up by double digits. The company claimed that retail deliveries were even better, up 19% overall.
The Encore added more than 10% to Buick's total, but the more dramatic turnaround was the Regal, which after languishing in dealers, nearly doubled last month. The LaCrosse and Verano, though, were down.
Caddy's bookend sedans -- the ATS (+60%) and the XTS (+42%) -- both had a good month and are running neck-and-neck to be the brand's bestselling sedan. Other models were flat or down slightly.
The Silverado was down compared with October, but was up versus a year ago; it remains in second place among all models sold in the U.S., although the Ram is now close behind. The new Corvette is selling at better than twice the pace of the previous car. The Malibu (+41%), Impala (+20%), and the Volt (+26%) made headway, as did the SUVs. The SS has just arrived, but sold only 178 units.
The Sierra had a nice gain (+23%) but the big mover was the Acadia, which doubled. Some of those sales, though, might have come at the expense of the Terrain (-16%).
FORD MOTOR COMPANY +7%
Ford didn't beat its year-ago figures as handily as the other two domestic automakers, but it's unlikely there were many sad faces in Dearborn.
The Fusion enjoyed another big increase (+51%), enough to muscle its way into the top ten nameplates. The increase was the exact inverse of the C-Max (-51%). In small cars, the Fiesta was up (+26%) but the Focus was down (-17%). The F-series recorded another 60k+ month, while the vans also jumped despite a raft of newer competition.
The MKZ (+114%) had its second big month, although the MKS (-31%), the MKT (-20%), and the MKX (-8%) were all down.
TOYOTA MOTOR SALES +10%
Toyota had lots of good news in November, as did Lexus, while new-product-starved Scion once again sat on the sidelines.
The new Corolla remained among the top ten nameplates, but was down fractionally from last year. The Camry (+6%), meanwhile, is unchallenged as the number one passenger car. The Avalon continues to cruise along at three times its previous volume, but the Venza (-39%) and the Yaris (-68%) are slumping. On the truck side, the new Tundra (+21%) made gains, but not as big as those of the RAV4 (+57%).
The new IS is now running at twice the old model's volume. Delivering less-happy news were the CT and the LS (both -21%), and the GS (-13%). The SUVs, though, were up, led by the GX (+70%).
All Scions were down this month, none more so than the iQ (-62%).