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November U.S. Auto Sales Bolstered by Close-outs, Trucks, Perks

November U.S. Auto Sales Bolstered by Close-outs, Trucks, Perks

By Philly Murtha, December 04, 2017

In November, new-vehicle sales were surprisingly healthy, and even surpassed a J.D. Power-LMC Automotive mid-month forecast. Thanksgiving weekend deals and higher incentives helped dealers clear out 2017 models to make way for 2018 model-year inventory. Total new car deliveries in November rose 1.4% to nearly 1.4 million units.

Ford Motor Co. (Ford) (+6.7%) was a star performer among the Detroit Three, while General Motors (GM) (-2.9%) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (-4%) deliveries slipped from last year. Nissan North America (+18.1%) turned in a stellar delivery total and set a November sales record, as did American Honda Motor Co. (Honda) (+8.3%).

Auto Sales

Among the other Asian majors, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. (Toyota) (-3%) deliveries slipped in November even with a high mark for the best-selling Camry and RAV4 models. Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai and Kia) (-11.7%) also reported lower sales than a year ago.

However, the Europeans posted small gains. VW Group of America (VW) (+2.9%) sales were up, bolstered by Audi and Porsche brand increases, and BMW of North America (BMW) (+4.5%) deliveries rose, primed by BMW brand (+7.1%) sales. Other European makes achieved mixed results. Mercedes-Benz USA (Mercedes) (+2.2%) sales improved with a bump from the main brand. Jaguar Land Rover (+9%) and Volvo Cars N.A. (Volvo) (+1.7%) celebrated increases.

Among the three independents, Mitsubishi (+24.8%) posted the top gain followed by Subaru (+0.8%), while Mazda (-2.6%) saw a slight slip.

Highlights: November 2017 Auto Sales
Following are November 2017 new-vehicle sales highlights (based on actual totals) for each major automaker:

American Honda Motor Co.—Honda (+8.3%) achieved a record November total of 133,156 unit deliveries. Honda brand (+8.2%) sold 120,440 cars and light trucks, and premium brand Acura (+9.5%) delivered 12,716 units. Honda CR-V (+25%) and Pilot (+57%) deliveries climbed in double-digits, while the Civic (+23%) surged with 31,181 unit sales. Acura RDX, MDX, and TLX sales also improved.

BMW of North America—Total sales at BMW (+4.5%) rose to 32,087 units. BMW brand (+7.1%) scored with some higher car deliveries and sold 28,049 units. Strong performers included the 5 Series, plus the X5 and all-new X3. In contrast, Mini (-10.4%) reported a weak 4,038 unit sales in November.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles—Although FCA (-3.7%) totals dipped to 154,919 units, retail deliveries rose 2%, and fleets were purposely reduced 25%, according to the automaker. Chrysler brand (+13.7%) sales rose with a best month for the Chrysler Pacifica. Jeep (-1.9%) posted gains for the Compass, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Wrangler. Dodge (-15.3%) reported gains for the Caravan and Durango, while Ram (-5%) pickup totals were stable. Fiat (-28.2%) relied on the niche 500L, and Alfa sold 1,440 units during the month.

Ford Motor Co.—Total sales at Ford (+6.7%) climbed for a third straight month to 210,771 units (including commercial trucks). Ford brand (+7.3%) remained the best-selling U.S. nameplate with 201,862 units delivered. F-Series (+0.9%) November sales were the best in 16 years at 72,769 units. Demand for Ford SUVs increased 13.4%, with strength from the Escape, Edge, Flex, and Explorer. Ford van totals, including Transit, were the best since 1984. Even some car models posted gains—Fiesta, Focus, Taurus, and Mustang. In contrast, Lincoln (-5.5%) sales totaled 8,909 units, with the only gains for the MKX and Navigator.

General Motors—GM (-2.9%) delivered 245,387 units in November. All four brands posted declines, although flagship Chevrolet (-1.1%) was nearly flat with 167,777 units delivered. Midsize pickups and SUVs scored well for the bow-tie brand with double-digit rises for the Colorado and Traverse. Niche model Corvette’s sales also surged 32.1%. The three remaining GM brands’ results were weaker: Buick (-3%), GMC (-5.8%), and Cadillac (-12.8%). Strong performers for those brands included Buick Enclave and new Envision; Cadillac’s XT5 and Escalade; plus GMC’s Terrain.

Hyundai Motor America—Total sales at Hyundai Motor (-11.7%) sank to 101,513 units. Hyundai (-9%) and its premium Genesis brand delivered 57,211 units. Genesis sales were up by 470 units, compared with last November. The Tucson set an all-time record for the month, and the Santa Fe and Elantra were strong performers. Kia (-15.6%) delivered 44,302 units, with most gains on the car side from the Forte, Rio, and Cadenza. The Niro and the new Stinger added incremental sales.

Jaguar Land Rover N.A.—Jaguar Land Rover (+9%) sales climbed to 9,862 units. Land Rover (+20%) reported its best November with 6,801 unit sales, while Jaguar (-9%) sales declined to 3,061 units.

Mazda North America—November sales at Mazda (-2.6%) dipped to 21,469 units, with strength from the MX-5 Miata and double-digit gains for all SUVs—CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9.

Mercedes-Benz USA—Group sales at Mercedes (+2.2%) improved to 32,274 units. Mercedes-Benz (+1.6%) brand sales rose to 30,838 units to gain the luxury brand sales crown in November. The C-Class was the sales leader, with momentum from GLC- and GLE-Class SUVs. Van (+27.7%) sales hit a record 3,274 units in November, while Smart sold 130 units.

Mitsubishi Motors N.A.—A major surge for Outlander and Outlander Sport SUV deliveries helped Mitsubishi (+24.8%) achieve November sales of 8,609 units.

Nissan North America—Setting a November record, Nissan and Infiniti (+18.1%) delivered 135,985 unit sales. Nissan (+19.3%) brand also set a high mark with 122,559 deliveries. SUVs and truck sales surged 36%. Star performers on the truck side included the Rogue, Murano, and Armada. Titan sales more than doubled. The Sentra and Maxima also created double-digit momentum on the car side. Infiniti (+7.5%) reported double-digit gains for its QX30, Q50, and QX60 premium SUVs.

Subaru of America—November sales at Subaru (+0.8%) inched up to 51,721 units, with continued gains for the Crosstrek, Impreza, and Forester.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.—Total sales at Toyota (-3%) fell to 191,616 units, which was a reversal of October’s gain. Toyota brand (-2.4%) sales dipped to 164,499 units, and premium Lexus (-6.7%) sales were 27,118 units. Although November car deliveries fell for both brands, the Camry (+24.1%) set a November record (nearly 35,000 unit sales). SUVs and trucks improved with gains for the RAV4, 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra. The Lexus NX and GX SUVs posted rises, while the RX was down 167 units.

VW Group of America—Total deliveries at VW (+2.9%) improved to 54,292 units. VW brand (-1.6%) sold 29,207 units in November, with SUVs accounting for 42% of deliveries. The new Tennessee-built Atlas and new Tiguan are adding momentum. Premium brand Audi (+12.1%) set another monthly record with 19,195 unit sales and strong performances for the new Q7 and Q5, plus A5 Sportback. Porsche (+0.8%) set a November record at 5,555 units, with gains on the car side (911 and Boxster/Cayman).

Volvo Cars N.A.—Sales at Volvo (+1.7%) reached 7,854 units, bolstered by the top-volume XC90 and new XC60.

Additional Research:

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