U.S. Car Sales Rebound After Sandy, With Strong 2012 Finish Predicted


  • 2013 Hyundai Elantra Front 3/4

    2013 Hyundai Elantra Front 3/4

    Increased availability of the 2013 Hyundai Elantra helped Hyundai Motor America come up with strong sales numbers for November. | December 03, 2012

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Just the Facts:
  • Chrysler, Hyundai and Volkswagen were among the automakers reporting strong U.S. new-vehicle sales in November as the industry rebounds from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
  • "We are expecting a strong December as the industry continues to recover from the East Coast hurricane," said Reid Bigland, Chrysler's U.S. sales chief.
  • Hyundai Motor America said it expected "continued momentum" in areas hit by Hurricane Sandy "for the balance of the year."

DETROIT — Chrysler, Hyundai and Volkswagen are among the automakers reporting strong U.S. new-vehicle sales in November as the industry rebounds from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The industry's mood is upbeat, as many automakers expect to finish the year on a positive note.

"November sales are coming in even more robust than expected," said Michelle Krebs, Edmunds.com senior analyst. "The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of sales for November looks to be above 15 million vehicles, the highest level since at least February 2008.

"Some of the upside came from sales deferred from October's Hurricane Sandy in the all-important Northeast and additional sales caused by vehicles being destroyed by the storm. But virtually all companies and most segments saw strength across the country, which suggests consumers are buying much-needed vehicles to replace their aged ones, and they can more easily get car loans than they could during the recession."

The U.S. auto industry is on track for its best month of sales since early 2008 — and expectations are high for December as well.

"We are expecting a strong December as the industry continues to recover from the East Coast hurricane," said Reid Bigland, Chrysler's U.S. sales chief, in a statement.

Hyundai Motor America said it expected "continued momentum" in areas hit by Hurricane Sandy "for the balance of the year."

Chrysler said sales rose 14 percent in November to 122,565 cars and trucks, its best November sales since 2007. Strong sales of the 2013 Ram 1500 and Dodge Journey were a highlight of Chrysler's November results.

Hyundai sales rose 8 percent to 53,487 units in November, helped in part by Black Friday sales and increased availability of the 2013 Hyundai Elantra.

November sales at Volkswagen rose 29 percent.

"Significantly, the brand is now more than 100,000 units ahead of where we were this time last year," said Jonathan Browning, Volkswagen Group of America CEO, in a statement.

Toyota reported sales of 161,695 units in November, up 17.2 percent.

GM sales rose 3 percent to 186,505 cars and trucks — below the expectations of analysts.

"The East Coast's ongoing recovery from Hurricane Sandy helped drive the November SAAR materially higher, but it benefited our competitors more than GM, since they rely on the region for more of their sales," said Kurt McNeil, GM's vice president of U.S. sales, in a statement.

The GMC Terrain's November sales were the best ever, with retail sales up 28 percent, GM noted.

Ford's total November sales of 177,673 vehicles increased 6 percent versus last year, helped in part by fuel-efficient models like the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid.

Edmunds says: The fiscal cliff figures prominently in just how well automakers wrap up 2012.

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