CHICAGO The top seven
automakers sold 955,717 vehicles in the United States in
November, up 3.3 percent from 925,028 the previous month and a
12.7-percent improvement over 848,123 in November last year,
according to an AMM analysis.
Year-to-date sales of nearly
11.27 million vehicles were 13.5 percent ahead of almost 9.93
million in the first 11 months of 2011.
Hurricane Sandy spurred some
"The East Coasts ongoing
recovery from Hurricane Sandy helped drive the seasonally
adjusted annual sales rate materially higher, perhaps as much
as 0.4 points," Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales
operations at Detroit-based General Motors Co., said. "It
benefited our competitors more than GM, given market share
patterns," but as 2012 draws to a close "its clear the
industry will come in at the high end of our full-year
forecast, which is for sales of 14 million to 14.5
Alan Batey, GMs global
chief marketing officer, said that with a five-weekend month,
December should be strong for auto sales.
But the number of replacement
vehicles needed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy may be at the
low end of published estimates of 50,000 to 100,000 vehicles.
"Well start to see (related sales) in a
December-to-February window, and we will see a positive uptick
throughout 2013," McNeil said.
Demand stemming from Hurricane
Sandy accounted for an additional 20,000 to 30,000 vehicle
sales industrywide in November, Ford Motor Co. U.S. sales
analyst Erich Merkle said, and similar replacement sales will
"take us into the first half of next year."
"Replacement of vehicles damaged
or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy is partially responsible for
strong sales," said Bill Fay, group vice president and general
manager of Torrance, Calif.-based Toyota Motor Sales USA
Fiscal cliff wrangling between
Congress and the White House has led automakers to hold off on
McNeil said GM wont offer
a formal 2013 sales forecast until Congress agrees on a plan to
resolve the fiscal cliff issue and reduce long-term federal
The fiscal crisis "is the
biggest uncertainty out there," said Jenny Lin, senior U.S.
economist with Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford. "The situation
remains very fluid."
The fiscal cliff is "on the
front page of every newspaper," Ford U.S. sales vice president
Ken Czubay acknowledged, "but (considering) the aging of the
fleet, the value proposition, higher fuel efficiency and low
interest rates," Fords showroom surveys "show that
business is still going to be quite good."