CHICAGO U.S. sales by the top seven automakers totaled nearly 1.05 million vehicles last month, up 9.6 percent from 955,800 in the same month last year.
Detroit-based General Motors Co. recorded its highest November sales in the United States in six years, U.S. sales and service vice president Kurt McNeil said during a conference call. "Sales are being driven by a convergence of car-buying fundamentals that keep getting stronger," including small business purchases of pickup trucks, he said.
McNeil suggested that the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) flirted with 16 million vehicles last month.
Erich Merkle, sales analyst for Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co., also viewed SAAR at "a solid" 16 million vehicles, including medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
Economic indicators are in a bit of a tug of war, Ford senior economist Emily Kolinski Morris said. "The November purchasing managers index rose to 57.3, with notable gains in the employment component and new orders offsetting the weak signal we saw in the October capital goods orders report," she said.
"While we finished November still short of 2014 model-year inventory, our plants are literally working 24/7 to restock our dealers with new models," said John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer of Monroe Township, N.J.-based Hyundai Motor America Inc.
"Industry sales in November picked up after Thanksgiving, contributing to the best sales pace of the year," said Bill Fay, division group vice president and general manager of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., Torrance, Calif.
Sales by the top seven automakers totaled more than 12.2 million vehicles in the first 11 months of this year, up 8.3 percent from nearly 11.27 million in the same period last year. The biggest winner so far is Ford, whose sales have risen 11.8 percent.