Ford sales beat estimates as Chrysler’s gained 14% after Sandy

Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. reported November U.S. light-vehicle sales gains that exceeded estimates as the industry benefited from buyers returning to showrooms after Hurricane Sandy a month earlier.

Ford deliveries rose 6.4 percent to 177,092 cars and light trucks last month, the company said today in a statement. Nissan sales climbed 13 percent, according to an e-mailed statement. The automakers topped analysts’ average estimates for increases of 2.4 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.

Replacement demand from owners of damaged vehicles and purchases deferred by Sandy, the superstorm that struck the East Coast in late October, probably boosted U.S. car and light-truck sales in November to the best monthly pace in more than four years. The annualized industrywide light-vehicle sales rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, may have accelerated to 15 million, the average of 15 analysts’ estimates.

“There is nothing wrong with these numbers,” Alan Baum, principal of auto-industry researcher Baum & Associates in West Bloomfield, Michigan, said today in a telephone interview. “We are obviously coming from much lower numbers, and more and more people are coming back into the market.”

Chrysler Group LLC, the carmaker controlled by Fiat SpA, said its sales increased 14 percent to 122,565 vehicles. The automaker trailed the average 16 percent gain of 11 analysts’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Chrysler forecast a 15.3 million industry sales pace for November in its statement today, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which typically account for at least 200,000 deliveries per year.

Replacement Sales

“You’ve got those deferrals coming back into the market, coupled with some replacement sales,” Reid Bigland, Chrysler Group LLC’s U.S. sales chief, said in a Nov. 28 interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Deliveries of Chrysler’s Ram pickups rose 23 percent to 24,337 and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans increased 42 percent to 8,578, according to the statement. The automaker majority owned by Turin, Italy-based Fiat extended its streak of consecutive monthly sales gains from a year earlier to 32.

U.S. light-vehicle deliveries probably rose 12 percent in November to 1.11 million, the average of estimates by 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. For October, all automakers reported deliveries that trailed average estimates from Bloomberg’s survey after Hurricane Sandy inflicted almost $70 billion in damage to New York and New Jersey alone.

Honda Motor Co.’s sales increase in November may lead all automakers with a gain of 33 percent, the average of eight analysts’ estimates.

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