General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC led November U.S. sales gains that met or exceeded analysts’ estimates as dealers stepped up promotion of year-end deals to trim rising vehicle inventory.
Deliveries of cars and light trucks rose 14% for GM, 16% for Chrysler and 7.1% for Ford Motor Co., according to company statements. The automakers beat or matched analysts’ average estimates for increases of 14% for GM, 11% for Chrysler and 5.6% for Ford in a survey by Bloomberg News. Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. also topped estimates.
Automakers entered their year-end sales push last month with their biggest supply of cars and trucks in eight years, a buildup that was poised to test the industry’s newfound pricing discipline. Dealers introduced more aggressive year-end marketing campaigns than in past years to try to draw shoppers to showrooms with Black Friday promotions and cheap financing.
“Dealers were seeing the opportunity to piggyback on this shopping phenomenon,” said Dave Winslow, chief digital strategist at Dealer.com, which provides digital advertising and marketing services. “When you compound that with the high inventory levels, it’s a good opportunity for them to really reduce those in the final few weeks of the year.”
Black Friday ranked as one of Chrysler’s top-five sales days of the year, Ralph Kisiel, a spokesman, said in an e-mail. Deliveries of the new Jeep Cherokee climbed to 10,169 in just its second month in the market, helping the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company extend its streak of year-over-year sales gains to 44 consecutive months. Sales of the Ram pickup gained 22% to 29,635.
Toyota, which is promoting no-interest loans for 60 months on its Camry sedan, boosted deliveries by 10%, exceeding six analysts’ average estimate for a 6.5% gain. Sales for Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan’s rose 11%, topping the 3.1% average estimate.
“The auto industry is really very much influenced by being able to offer zero-percent financing, and car dealers also are beneficiaries of low rates,” Maryann Keller, principal at auto- industry consulting firm Maryann Keller & Associates in Stamford, Connecticut, said today on Bloomberg Radio. “They’re carrying excess inventory because floorplan for them -- the inventory carrying costs -- are so low.”
U.S. car and light truck sales in November probably rose 5.2% to 1.2 million, the average of seven estimates in a survey by Bloomberg News. The monthly results automakers report today will include deliveries tallied through Dec. 2, helping boost the number of vehicles sold, because the month ended over the weekend.
The monthly annualized industry sales rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, may climb to 15.8 million in November, the average of 13 estimates, from 15.3 million a year earlier.
Chrysler, controlled by Fiat SpA, today forecast a 16.3 million industry sales pace for November, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which typically account for at least 200,000 deliveries a year.
GM projected the industry’s light-vehicle sales rate would exceed 16 million. The U.S. Treasury Department said last month that it expects to sell its remaining GM common shares by year- end, pending market conditions. The exit would end restrictions on pay for top executives that the Detroit-based automaker has said hampered recruiting.
Carmakers have accelerated production to meet demand that has left the industry on pace for the best sales year since 2007. Inventory climbed to almost 3.4 million cars and light trucks entering November, according to industry data provider WardsAuto. At 76 days’ supply, that was the highest for the month since 2005.
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