November car sales revved up by Black Friday sales

December 2, 2014, 3:37 PM UTC
General Views Ahead Of Domestic Vehicle Sales Figures
A line of 2012 Ford Focus vehicles sit on display at the Uftring Automall in East Peoria, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012. Cars and light trucks sold at an average 13.4 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate in the final three months of 2011, the best since April-June 2008, figures from researcher Autodata Corp. show. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Daniel Acker — Bloomberg/Getty Images

November was another strong month for the nation’s automakers, with two of the U.S. “Big Three” car manufacturers saying sales rose over the previous year’s number.

General Motors (GM) and Chrysler both saw solid growth. GM sales totaled 225,818, up 6% from a year ago. Chrysler, meanwhile, moved 170,839 units, a 20% jump from a year ago.

Ford (F), meanwhile, saw sales down 2%. This dip was expected, though, as the company is preparing for upcoming release of the retooled F-150 truck.

Chrysler’s gain in November came on strong showings by its Jeep brand and Ram pickup trucks, the unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said on Tuesday.

Jeep SUV sales jumped 27 percent, Ram pickup truck sales were up 21 percent, and Chrysler 200 sedan sales soared 155 percent to 14,317.

A strong showing on Black Friday is seen pushing U.S. auto industry sales in November up 2.3 percent to about 1.27 million vehicles, according to a survey of 11 analysts by Reuters.

There sales growth this month is attributable to a few factors, namely the continued recovery of the auto market from the historic lows seen in the aftermath of the credit crisis, and a continuing focus of the auto industry on making sales during the Black Friday weekend.

Dave Winslow, Dealertrack Technology’s vice president of digital strategy, said his site saw good numbers leading up to the holiday weekend.

One smart thing some auto dealers did this year was move up their holiday ad buy, according to TrueCar president John Krafcik. This way, car buyers started to think about buying a car as the weekend approached; plus, the media buy was cheaper than actually advertising on Black Friday.

“It just showed a lot of marketing strategy from the automakers,” he said.

Though decreased fuel costs may have enhanced the auto market this month, both Winslow and Krafcik think it’s more about the economy in general being favorable to the auto market, with low interest rates and higher employment helping, in addition to the low fuel costs.

Other manufacturers reporter sales this morning, including Nissan, which sold 103,188 units, down 3.1% from last year, and Volkswagen, which sold 31,725, up 3.2%.

—Reuters contributed to this report.