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November Car Sales Stay Strong Despite Shorter Sales Month

November Car Sales Stay Strong Despite Shorter Sales Month

By Philly Murtha, December 01, 2015

Updated 12/2/2015

November was a healthy sales month for U.S. automakers even with two fewer selling days than the year-ago period. Sales exceeded 1.3 million units for the month, which translates to a 1.2% increase (7% increase on a selling-day adjusted basis*).

Holiday discounts—including Black Friday specials—end-of-year deals on 2015 models, and redesigned models in showrooms added momentum to the late fall car-buying season. Low interest rates, longer-term loans, and reasonable gasoline prices also bolstered sales.

In early reports, it appears that the Hyundai Group might post the highest monthly gain at the corporate level, while Volvo may post the best November gain at the brand level, followed by Land Rover and Scion.

Two of three major Japanese automakers—Nissan (+3.8%) and Toyota (+3.4%) Groups—reported increases that translate into double-digit improvements when adjusted for fewer selling days this year. Honda Group (-5.2%) sales declined, but also would be up when selling-day adjusted. Additionally, Korea’s Hyundai Group (+7.1%) likely posted the best November gain among multi-franchise automakers.

Detroit-based automakers also saw small gains. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (+3%) posted the highest increase, followed by General Motors (+1.5%) and Ford Motor Co. (+0.3%).

European automaker results were mixed. Daimler AG, reporting a day late due to what the company described as a "systems malfunction," endured an 11.7% decrease. Rival BMW Group’s (+1.2%) sales edged up, due to BMW brand’s (+3.2%) increase. Volkswagen Group (-15.4%) sales sank as the company is mired in a diesel engine emissions-software cheating embroilment.

Independent automakers posted small gains, too, with demand for crossovers—Mazda (+7%); Mitsubishi (+3.6%); and Subaru (+1.8%).

Highlights: November 2015 Auto Sales

Following are November auto sales highlights for each major automaker:

American Honda—Honda Group (-5.8%) sales slipped to 115,441 units, but were up 3% when selling-day adjusted. Honda brand (-3.5%) delivered 103,197 units. Top-volume car models, including the Accord and the redone Civic, posted increases while sales of the all-new Pilot SUV climbed 19%. Acura (-17.7%) sales sank in November to 12,244 units; its top model was the RDX (+7.4%).

BMW Group—BMW Group (+1.2%) sales rose due to a boost from the BMW brand (+3.2%), which reaped 31,019 unit sales. Notably, BMW outpaced Lexus (and possibly Mercedes) in November. Crossovers were leaders for the German automaker—up one-third from last November with gains for the X3 and X6. Mini (-11%) sales dropped from a year ago.

Daimler AG—In spite of Mercedes-brand (-11.6%) deliveries hitting their highest level of the year, overall sales for Daimler were down 11.7% compared with November 2014, due in part to a limited supply of SUVs. November sales for the Mercedes-Benz brand were led by the C-Class, GLE, and E-Class model lines. Smart sales were down 18.8%.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles—It was the 68th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases for FCA (+3%), with total deliveries of 175,974 units. Also, it was FCA’s best November since 2000, according to the automaker. Jeep (+19.9%) remained the group’s superstar. Seven models set November records and four of them were among the Jeep lineup. Fiat (-2.6%) and Ram (+0.6%) were steady performers, while Chrysler (-12.1%) and Dodge (-7.5%) posted declines.

Ford Motor Company—Ford Motor (+0.3%) delivered 187,794 units in November. F-Series and commercial vans were strong—up 18% for a best truck performance in eight years, according to a Ford executive. Ford’s best-selling F-Series posted a 10.4% gain with sales of more than 65,000 units. Transit and Transit Connect van sales nearly doubled, while the new Edge and Explorer SUVs posted small gains. The Ford brand (+0.6%) sold 179,876 units and was the leading nameplate in November. Although Lincoln (-2.4%) posted a decline, MKZ and MKS car sales were up, along with the all-new MKX crossover SUV.

General Motors—GM (+1.5%) sold 229,296 units in November, which translated to a 10% gain on a selling-day adjusted basis. Chevrolet (+4.8%) and Cadillac (+1.8%) posted gains, while Buick (-16.6%) and GMC (-1.9%) reported declines. Chevrolet delivered 156,907 units in November. SUVs, especially crossovers, were best-sellers and included: Chevrolet Traverse; Buick Encore; and Cadillac SRX. GM’s new midsize pickups—Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon—more than doubled deliveries compared with the same month last year, and even a traditional large SUV—the GMC Yukon—posted a double-digit gain. On the car side, Chevrolet’s Volt had its best November ever and Camaro sales were up 21%.

Hyundai Group—Group sales climbed 7.1%. Hyundai (+12%) set a November record with 60,007 unit sales and double-digit gains from Santa Fe (+55%) and Tucson (+90%) in addition to increases for the Accent, Veloster, and Elantra. Kia’s November improvement (+1.4%) was led by the Optima and Soul.

Jaguar Land Rover—Combined brand sales soared by half with Land Rover (+79%) up and Jaguar (-15%) down.

Mazda—November sales were the highest for Mazda (+7%) since 1994. The CX-5 (+21.3%) celebrated its best month ever and was Mazda’s top seller, while the redesigned MX-5 Miata’s sales increased twofold.

Mitsubishi—Sales rose 3.6% for Mitsubishi and the automaker said it was the 21st consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The Outlander (+43%) dominated and the Outlander Sport set a November record.

Nissan Group—Nissan Group (+3.8%) sold 107,083 units in November—a company record for the month. Nissan brand (+3.9%) sales got a lift from Versa, Sentra, and the redesigned Maxima (sales rose in double digits). SUVs boosted sales as well, especially Rogue (+69.8%) and Murano—up by nearly one-half. Infiniti (+2.6%) posted gains principally from its premium crossovers: QX50, QX60, QX70, and QX80—up a combined 44%.

Subaru—Subaru (+2%) set another monthly sales record, the company said. Two November sales standouts were the Crosstrek and Impreza.

Toyota Group—Toyota Group (+3.4%) delivered 189,517 units in November. Toyota brand (+2.8%) sold 160,177 units and Lexus (+6.8%) reported its best November in the brand’s history with sales of 29,340 units—helped by premium SUVs (+37%). The Toyota RAV4 (+29.7%) set a November record. On the car side, America’s best-selling passenger car, the Camry (+7.3%), reached 30,945 unit sales. Overall Prius sales dipped 9.9%, although the redesigned sedan posted a small gain in November, Toyota said. Scion (+32.7%) sales surged, propped up by 2,800 sales of two new models—the iA and iM.

Volkswagen Group—Group sales fell 15.7% for Volkswagen. Deliveries dropped by one-fourth (-24.7%) for the VW brand, although Tiguan sales surged 87.7% from a year ago and GTI and Golf sales also improved. November sales were impacted by a voluntary stop-sale order for all 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder TDI vehicles as well as for the 3.0-liter diesel V-6, due to emissions issues. Audi (+0.4%) sales were up for its best November, while Porsche (-5.3%) sales dipped. Audi’s A3 and A5 car sales rose in double digits along with a 51% rise for the Q3.

Volvo—Sales of Volvo cars and SUVs rose 90.5% in November, to 6,902 units, with strong demand for the all-new XC90 and its best-selling XC60.

*There were 23 selling days in November 2015 vs. 25 days in November 2014. Sales percentage changes are unadjusted.

Additional Research:

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