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Major Automakers Report Higher November U.S. Sales


Major automakers on Monday reported higher U.S. vehicles sales for the month of November, as demand for new fuel efficient vehicles remained strong and consumers were unconcerned about the impending "fiscal cliff." Chrysler Group LLC and Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) posted double digit percentage growths in U.S. vehicle sales for the month, while General Motors Co. (GM) and Ford Motor Co. (F) reported gains of 3.4% and 6.5%, respectively.

GM, the largest U.S. automaker, said that its November U.S. sales rose 3.4% to 186,505 vehicles from 180,402 vehicles in the same month last year.

There were 25 selling days for the November 2012, the same as last year.

The automaker noted that this was its highest November sales in the United States since 2007.

"In November, we saw strong car and crossover sales and we continue to make inroads with younger customers, import drivers and buyers focused on fuel economy," said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations. "Sales at Cadillac and Buick are benefiting from the buzz generated by new products, including the Buick Verano, Cadillac XTS and Cadillac ATS."

Year-over-year sales to retail customers edged down 0.1%, while sales to fleet customers grew 16% during the month.

For November, GM's passenger car sales increased 19% and crossovers were up 9%, while truck sales fell 11% from a year earlier.

Among GM's brands, Chevrolet sales remained essentially flat at 128,867 units, while GMC sales grew 1.2% to 29,832 units, Cardillac sales surged 30.3% to 14,517 and Buick sales jumped 22.1% to 13,289 units. Buick and Cadillac had their best November sales since 2006 and 2007, respectively, the automaker said.

Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford, the second largest U.S. automaker, said it sold 177,673 vehicles in the U.S. in November, up 6.5% from 166,865 vehicles sold in the same month last year. For October, Ford had reported a 0.4% rise in U.S. vehicles sales.

Ford's retail sales for November were up 12% from the year-ago level.

Ford's car sales rose 15.2% year-over-year to 55,661 units in November, while truck sales for the month increased 3.7% to 68,161 units and utility vehicle sales grew 2% to 53,851 units.

"November represented a strong month for the industry, and Ford sales performed well across the board," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "We saw sharp increases in demand for Ford's fuel-efficient small cars, our best-ever month for electrified vehicles and growing demand for our fuel-efficient and capable F-Series pickups."
Combined sales Focus, all-new C-MAX Hybrid and Fiesta sales surged 76% to 25,493 vehicles in November, making it the automaker's best November small car sales month since 2000.

Among utilities, Explorer sales surged 12.2% to 14,456 vehicles, while Escape sales fell 3.9% to 20,970 vehicles.

Sales of Ford's F-Series truck, America's best-selling truck for 35 years in a row and America's best-selling vehicle, car or truck, for 30 straight years, rose 17.9% to 56,299 units in November, its best November since 2005 and 16th straight month of sales increases.

Ford said it plans to build 750,000 vehicles in North America in the first quarter of 2013, an increase of 11% or 73,000 vehicles from the first quarter of 2012.

The automaker left its fourth quarter North America production forecast unchanged at 725,000 vehicles.

Ford was less ravaged by the recession than most of its peers. The company also did not have to restructure with federal assistance. The automaker has reported a profit for each of its last thirteen quarters. The company has also reinstated its quarterly stock dividend. However, the automaker's profit has declined in the last three quarters due to weakness in Europe.

Ford said in October that it planned to close three European facilities, relocating production of key products for a more efficient manufacturing footprint, significantly improved plant utilization and work force reductions. The company is projecting profitability in Europe by mid-decade.

Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally plans to stay in his position through at least 2014. The company has also appointed Mark Fields as its new chief operating officer, effective December 1.

Ford's Lincoln brand on Monday announced its plan to once again be a major competitor in the premium automotive marketplace. The company, introduced as The Lincoln Motor Co., unveiled its all-new MKZ midsize luxury sedan and a strategic plan to reinvent the premium automotive marketplace.

Chrysler Group LLC , majority-owned by Italian carmaker Fiat SpA (FIATY.PK) , reported that its U.S. vehicle sales for the month of November increased 14% to 122,565 units from 107,172 units in the prior year month.

This marks the 32nd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains for Chrysler, and its best November sales since 2007.

Chrysler's car sales for the month rose 27% to 36,570 units, while truck sales grew 10% to 85,995 units. FIAT Brand sales jumped 123% in October, followed by Dodge brand with a 32% growth, Ram Truck brand with a 23% rise and Chrysler brand with a 1% increase, while Jeep brand sales edged down 1%.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., a division of Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), reported November sales of 161,695 units, up 17.2% from 137,960 units a year earlier.

Total Toyota division sales for the month were 138,976 units, up 17.3% from 118,502 units in the same month last year. Total Lexus division sales increased 16.8% to 22,719 units from 19,458 units in the same month last year.

Among other automakers reporting U.S. sales Monday, Nissan North America Inc., a part of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NSANY.PK), reported November U.S. sales of 96,197 vehicles, up 13% from 85,182 units a year earlier. Total car sales for the month edged up 1.2% to 52,527 units, while total truck sales jumped 31.2% to 43,670 units. Total Nissan Division sales for the month rose 9.8% to 84,300 units year, while total Infiniti Division sales surged 41.2% to 11,897 units.

GM shares are currently trading at $25.64, down 24 cents, while Ford shares are currently trading at $11.51, up 6 cents.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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