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Strong Thanksgiving Weekend Boosts November Car Sales

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jeffgilbert Jeff Gilbert
Automotive reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBS Radio News....
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DETROIT (WWJ) -  Car and truck sales blew past analyst expectations in November, jumping about 7 percent, to hit an annual sales rate around 16 million.  The big reason — Black Friday.

“It would appear November was a very strong month,” said Ford analyst Erich Merkel.  “The consumer really came out in full force at the end of the month with the Thanksgiving holiday.”

Ford posted a 7 percent sales increase, pushed on by strong sales of the F-Series pickup and Fusion.  GM sales were up 14 percent.  Chrysler sales rose 16 percent.

“Our all-new Jeep Cherokee is off to a terrific start with more than 10,169 units sold in its first full month on sale,” said Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales. “Our launch emphasis on Jeep Cherokee quality is now being rewarded with brisk sales and helping Chrysler Group achieve our 44th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth.”

The Jeep brand lead the way, with a 30 percent sales increase. All Chrysler’s brands showed an increase. The much talked about Will Ferrell ads pushed Dodge Durango sales up 36 percent.

“Y’know, beside the deals, you have a lot of strong, new product,” said Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell.  “At the end of the day, that’s what’s really going to drive sales.”

Nissan says its sales were up 11 percent.  Toyota sales rose 10 percent in November.   Honda was flat.

It appears the month ended on a strong note.

“Our dealers told us we had a terrific ‘Black Friday,” said Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel. “In fact, ‘Black Friday’ was one of our top five sales days of the year.”

Car dealers followed the lead of retailers in heavily promoting Thanksgiving weekend sales.

“This year we definitely saw the automakers jump on board the Black Friday event, and we saw a lot of promotions around that,” said Edmunds.com analyst Michelle Krebs.  “What’s interesting is we didn’t necessarily see great deals.”

Armed with that success, we can expect more promotions, and strong sales, in December.

“For those consumers that weren’t able to take advantage of Black Friday deals, we expect to see very similar pricing throughout the month of December,” said Kelly Blue Book analyst Alec Gutierrez.

The car companies are already preparing to end the year on a high note.

“December is a big month, historically,” said GM Sales Operations Manager Kurt McNeil.  “We’ve got very good plans in place to take full advantage of that.”

As we transition from 2013 into 2014, analysts see a 16 million annual sales rate becoming the norm.

“I think we’re leveling off at this pace we’re at right now<” said analyst Jeff Schuster of LMC Automotive.  “I think the low to mid 16′s is certainly what we’ll see as we progress through next year and into 2015.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Email: jdgilbert@cbs.com
Facebook: facebook.com/carchronicles
Twitter: @jefferygilbert

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