For automakers and dealers, November sales were at their best monthly rate since August of 2009, when Cash for Clunkers was in full swing. The surge is partially credited to black Friday shoppers, who turned out at some of their highest levels in recent years to take advantage of great deals.
Hyundai’s sales were up 21.8 percent; Kia was up 39.1 percent; Nissan was up 21.5 percent; and Mercedes Benz had its best November ever with sales of 27,841 units, up 42.6 percent from a year ago. Toyota, well on its way to recovery from March’s earthquake and tsunami, was up 6.7 percent and picked up a point in market share. Honda continues to struggle, now with supply issues caused by flooding in Thailand, and saw sales fall 6.2 percent from November 2010.
“Bolstered by falling unemployment rates and attractive deals, consumers who had been deferring automotive purchases returned to dealerships in droves last month,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “Dealers are optimistic that last month’s numbers bode well for 2012.”
International Market Share Continues to Climb
International brands occupied 54.6 percent of the U.S. auto market during November, selling 542,324 vehicles, and charting a year-over-year improvement of 12.2 percent and 6.7 percent for the year to date. In October, internationals held 54.3 percent of the market and sold 554,369 vehicles. Asian brands sold 455,330 vehicles, occupying 43.8 percent of the market, down slightly from 44 percent in October. European brands continued to improve on the 10.3 percent market share they held last month; in November, they sold 106,994 vehicles and captured 10.8 percent of the U.S. market. Domestic brands sold 452,397 vehicles and held 45.5 percent of the November auto market in the U.S., down from 45.7 percent in October.
Occupying five spots, international brands continued to maintain a steady presence on the top ten list. The Toyota Camry regained its position as the top-selling car in America, buoyed by the arrival of the nameplate’s 2012 redesigned model in showrooms. In eighth and tenth place respectively, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla – which are typically perennial best-sellers – moved back into the top ten for the first time since April. In fifth position, the Nissan Altima held steady for the month; sales for the car were up 12.2 percent over November 2010 and 17.8 percent for the year-to-date. Eight of the top ten vehicles demonstrated an average 19.2 percent year-over-year improvement.
True to form, Americans continued to purchase SUVs at a higher rate than any other vehicle segment, selling 330,055 units, up from 324,549 last month. The midsize segment remained in second place with sales of 229,300 vehicles, down from 241,397 last month. It also demonstrated the best year-over-year sales improvement up, 17.6 percent. In contrast, sales for the large vehicle segment fell 66.1 percent with sales of 2,004 units. Asian brands sold 256,655 cars and 178,675 trucks, while European brands sold 74,021 cars and 32,973 trucks. Domestic brands sold 132,744 cars and 319,653 trucks.
Overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, were up 13.9 percent from November 2010 and 10.4 percent year to date. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicle sales in November was estimated by AutoData Corp. at 13.63 million units, up from 12.28 million units in November 2010.
See below for a complete breakdown of November 2011 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.