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.
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%).
CHRYSLER GROUP +16%
Chrysler boasted the biggest gain among the domestic automakers, and added market share in the process.
Again this month, the Town & Country (+70%) was the engine driving the Chrysler division, while the 200 (-24%) and the 300 (-14%) were the brakes.
The Dart (+45%) darted ahead in November, while the Avenger, unsurprisingly, declined (-32%). With a push from Ron Burgundy, the Durango (+36%) saw gains.
The long-awaited new Jeep Cherokee finally arrived in quantity in November — and it sold in quantity, too, topping 10,000 units. Other Jeeps pitched in as well: the Compass (+31%), Patriot (+23%), Wrangler (+14%), and Grand Cherokee (+9%).
The big Ram pickup (+22%) looks to be closing in on the Silverado; in any event, it was the number four nameplate (behind Camry, Silverado, and F-series) overall.
Fiat’s decline has got to be sounding some alarms in Auburn Hills. It would have been much worse (-41%) had it not been for the arrival of the 500L.
AMERICAN HONDA +0%
Honda was stagnant in a surging market.
The Civic and the Accord flip-flopped, with the Accord again out in front of its smaller sibling, although the pair remained in 5th and 6th place overall. The CR-V was again the bestselling SUV. So where did Honda lose ground? The Civic and the Pilot (both -13%), and the Crosstour (-31%).
Acura added to its total thanks entirely to the MDX (+81%) and the RDX (+21%). For the passenger cars, it was all bad news. The ILX was back in negative territory (-25%), along with the TL (-24%) and the TSX (-39%). Meanwhile, the new RLX did little to help, selling 676 units.
The new Santa Fe (+43%) and the Accent (+42%) led the charge for Hyundai, while the Azera (-32%), and the Genesis (-17%) were down.
With the Sportage doubling, the new Soul up significantly (+77%), and the Cadenza adding 913 units, Kia easily beat its year-ago total in November, despite declines for the Sedona (-57%), the Sorento (-20%), and the Optima (-15%).
The new Sentra (+63%) led the gains at Nissan. The Altima (+21%) surged to the number seven spot among all nameplates. And the Frontier (+55%) was buoyed by strong demand for pickups — and by the departure of the Ford Ranger. The Titan (-33%) and the Armada (-31%), meanwhile, are looking old, and the Cube (-61%) looks to be dissolving.
The new Q50 and the JX pushed Infiniti ahead, despite slippage for lesser models like the FX and the M.
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP -9%
Volkswagen is down from last year — in a market that’s up — but it’s still operating at a much higher level than in the recent past.
Once again, the Beetle (+43%) was the only Volkswagen model to exceed its year-ago sales. The CC (-52%) and the Touareg (-47%) were particularly soft
The Q5 (+32%) and the A6 (+33%) were the prime movers for Audi in November, although there really were few weak spots in the lineup, outside of the TT (-28%).
The surging 911 powered Porsche into positive territory despite declines for the Boxster, the Panamera, and the Cayenne.
The CLA didn’t sell as many as in October, but its 3623 units still gave a big boost to the Mercedes total. We also should recognize the new S-class (+39%), the M-class (+11%), and the E-class (+6%). The only significant volume drop was for the C-class (-8%), which is scheduled for replacement next year, and may be losing some sales to the CLA.
Smart, which was down by half in October, pulled a major U-turn in November.
Subaru remains on a tear, thanks to the new Forester (+135%), with a big assist from the XV Crosstrek (+158%). The BRZ (+44%) is also climbing. Not everything is going gangbusters, though: the Legacy (-22%) and the Outback (-13%) were down again, as was the Impreza (-11%).
BMW GROUP +0%
With flat sales in November, the BMW Group slipped behind Daimler-Benz.
With the arrival of the 4 Series, the 3 Series/4 Series combo jumped (+22%). Good thing, because other than minor gains for the 1 Series and the X1, it was all downhill for BMW.
The Countryman and the other Minis had been teeter-tottering, with one up and one down each month, but in November both were down.
The new Mazda 6 is selling at triple the volume of the previous car, and the CX-5 is still climbing (+50%), but it wasn’t enough to overcome big declines for the Mazda2 (-71%), the CX9 (-43%), the Mazda5 (-48%), and the Mazda3 (-21%).
JAGUAR LAND ROVER +37%
The new F-Type accounted for just a fraction of Jaguar’s increased sales. Look also to the XF (+92%) and the XJ (+75%) — but not the XK (-3%).
Land Rover +25%
The big Range Rover is selling at better than three times last year’s volume, while the Evoque (+21%) and the LR2 (+30%) also lent a hand. The Range Rover Sport (-13%) and the LR4 (-12%) were both down.
The new Outlander more than doubled its previous November total. And the Outlander Sport (+36%) and the Lancer (+37%) didn’t do so badly either. Sales of the i-MiEV, though, fell to just 12, after which the company announced a price cut.
Volvo’s sales were down across the board, with all models below their year-ago figures.
TOP 10 BESTSELLING NAMEPLATES IN NOVEMBER 2013
1. Ford F-series 65,501
2. Chevrolet Silverado 34,386
3. Toyota Camry 30,386
4. Dodge Ram 29,635
5. Honda Accord 27,093
6. Honda Civic 26,291
7. Nissan Altima 24,604
8. Honda CR-V 23,509
9. Toyota Corolla/Matrix 22,434
10. Ford Fusion 22,839