DETROIT (WWJ) – Car and truck sales jumped five percent in November, doubling analyst expectations. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate–around 17.2 million–was the second best of the year.
Chrysler lead the industry with a 20 percent sales increase, in a month that finished strong.
“Black Friday was very good, consistent with sales we’ve had previous years on Black Friday,” said Chrysler Spokesman Ralph Kisiel. “More importantly, those strong sales continued on through the weekend.”
A 155 percent increase in sales of the new Chrysler 300 pushed that brand’s sales up 30 percent, even with the Ram truck brand. The Jeep brand posted a similar increase, with sales of Fiats and Dodges essentially flat from last year.
It was Chrysler’s 56th consecutive year over year sales increase.
GM sales rose 6 percent, with strong sales of full size pickups and the new Colorado and Canyon mid size pickups. Spokesman Jim Cain says Black Friday weekend ended the month on a strong note, but there were other factors at work, including stable gasoline prices.
“We think fuel prices are going to stay low through 2015. What that is driving is very strong truck and crossover sales.”
Ford sales fell two percent, as the company deals with the transition to a new F-150 pickup. But that was partially offset by strong sales of the Escape, Explorer and Mustang.
“Our all-new Mustang is moving quickly off dealer lots,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Mustang had its best November sales in eight years and is turning in just eight days on dealer lots, on average. Escape saw record sales for November, while Lincoln sales continue gaining momentum, with the brand posting its best sales since 2007.”
Most import brands noted sales increases, including Toyota which saw its November sales rise three percent.
Dealer traffic was strong during the entire Thanksgiving weekend.
“It seems like the manufacturers really got it down,” said Edmunds.com analyst Jeremy Acevedo. “They are extended it to an entire shopping weekend, a shopping season. They are really parlaying that into the holiday season.”
AutoTrader.com analyst Michelle Krebs says the strong holiday weekend pushed sales to stronger levels than she expected.
“Looking forward the interesting thing will be to see, will that hurt December sales,” she said. “I think there are still some strong fundamentals in the market, that maybe we’ll still see another great December.”