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.
“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.
The maker of Accord sedans and Civic compacts began the month with almost double the inventory it had in November 2011, according to researcher WardsAuto. Dealers for the Tokyo-based company faced shortages a year ago after the tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand disrupted production and parts supply.
This year, Sandy damaged more than 230,000 vehicles, including 190,000 in New York and New Jersey, according to estimates from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The average estimate for November’s sales rate would be a rebound from 14.3 million in October, according to researcher Autodata Corp. The U.S. market has been in steady recovery this year, topping out at an annualized pace of 14.9 million vehicles in September, the best since March 2008, Autodata’s figures show. The sales rate was 13.6 million in November 2011.
The U.S. averaged 16.8 million light-vehicle deliveries annually from 2000 to 2007, then dropped to 10.4 million in 2009, a 27-year-low, according to Autodata. Sales for 2012 are headed toward a third consecutive annual increase of more than 10 percent.
General Motors Co. the top-selling automaker in the U.S., probably boosted deliveries in November by 7.6 percent, the average of 11 estimates. The Detroit-based automaker joined Ford in announcing $500 discounts to buyers affected by the storm, according to Edmunds.com.
Toyota Motor Corp., Asia’s top-selling U.S. automaker, may have sold 20 percent more vehicles in November than a year earlier, the average of eight estimates.
South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. may have combined to sell 9.1 percent more vehicles in November compared with a year earlier, the average of six estimates. Hyundai’s November sales gained 7.8 percent to 53,487, the company said in a statement. U.S. regulators said last month that the affiliates overstated the fuel-economy ratings for most of their 2012 and 2013 models.
Volkswagen AG has probably already exceeded its full-year target for U.S. sales of 500,000 vehicles. The company entered the month with almost 470,000 deliveries for its Volkswagen and Audi brands. The automaker likely boosted sales in November by 25 percent, the average of three estimates.