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Post-Hurricane Sandy: Consumers Return to Showrooms in November

Post-Hurricane Sandy: Consumers Return to Showrooms in November

By Jeff Youngs, December 03, 2012
New-vehicle sales in the United States were up 15% in November from a year ago as more consumers returned to dealer showrooms after coping with major power outages, fallen trees, flooding, and other damages caused by the Hurricane Sandy storm system in late October. The National Insurance Crime Bureau has estimated that the hurricane storm system damaged more than 230,000 vehicles.

J.D. Power and Associates and its strategic partner LMC Automotive report that 1.142 million new cars and light trucks were sold in November, which would equal to a seasonally adjusted annual selling rate of 15.4 million units--the highest annual selling pace in more than 4 years.

Both Honda and BMW Groups reported the largest increases (+39% each) in November among automakers selling more than one nameplate, and Volkswagen Group sold nearly one-third more new vehicles in November than a year ago (+31%). Independent brand Subaru outperformed the majors and independents by selling 60% more new vehicles in this country than last year, which also outpaced any previous November for the Fuji Heavy Industries brand, which is 16.7% owned by Toyota Group.

In addition, after several months of reporting the best year-over-year sales gains, Chrysler and Toyota Groups also were strong performers again with double-digit new-vehicle increases in the U.S. market. The Daimler Group, which produces Mercedes-Benz and its Smart micro-car brand, posted a 16% increase from November a year ago.

Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, and Nissan Groups also were among automakers with multiple franchises to report healthier-than-anticipated sales during the past month vs. last year, partly due to a boost from consumers replacing vehicles damaged during Hurricane Sandy and also due to consumers turning in older vehicles for new ones, as well as the attraction of some fresh incentives and new models.

Some of the brands to report significant upticks in sales from a year ago included GM's Cadillac and Buick nameplates--both reported strong double-digit gains. The Ford brand also reported an increase and noted that small-car sales in November were the best since 2000 and that large pickup deliveries climbed in double digits from a year ago--many powered by what Ford claims is its more fuel-efficient EcoBoost engine. Hyundai was helped by Black Friday sales, according to a company statement, which also said there were more Hyundai Elantra compacts in stock at dealerships in November.

With only one month remaining this calendar year, it appears that new car and truck sales in 2012 will reach their highest totals since before the recession.

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