SUVs and Marketing Boosted U.S. Auto Sales in November by Reuters @FortuneMagazine 11:42 AM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Linkedin Share icons U.S. auto sales rose in November on the strength of sport utility vehicles and marketing promotions while industry sales were forecast rising above 18 million vehicles on an annualized basis. General Motors GM said on Tuesday the U.S. auto industry will sell 18.2 million vehicles for the month at an annualized rate. Most analysts predicted 2015 sales will top the record of 17.35 million vehicles in 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. End-of-year holiday promotions were pushed into November as automakers emphasized Black Friday deals tied to the Thanksgiving U.S. holiday, said Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds.com. While incentive spending fell in the month from a year earlier, according to TrueCar, consumers were attracted by such promotions as zero percent financing. “Incentives were strong for the Black Friday weekend, but I think it was more of the messaging than substance. Still, it looks like consumers took the deals,” said Jeff Schuster, forecaster for LMC Automotive. GM’s total sales, including both retail and fleet, rose 1.5%. GM like most automakers showed gains for SUVs but losses for sedan sales. Sales of its Cruze small car were down 30% in the month. Full-size pickup truck sales, combining the Chevrolet Silverado and the GM Sierra, fell 6.2%, while the Ford Motor F F-Series pickups gained 10% at 65,192. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCAU said its Ram pickup sales were up 2%. Ford ended a sales promotion offering employee pricing, but analysts said the deal confused consumers who wanted more traditional promotions. Ford sales rose 0.4% for the month. In a sign of a strong market for small SUVs, known as crossovers, Nissan Motor’s Rogue outsold the Altima sedan for November. Rogue sales rose 50%. Fiat Chrysler stretched its streak of consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains to 68, reporting a 3% rise in November, based on the strength of its SUV brand Jeep, up 20%, the company said. More than 40 economists and analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected November sales at 18.1 million vehicles on an annualized basis, and the range of estimates by the forecasters was from 17.6 million to 18.6 million vehicles.