Honda enjoyed record sales thanks to its SUV/CUV line in November, the same month it previewed the upcoming revived HR-V nameplate at the Los Angeles show

Honda enjoyed record sales thanks to its SUV/CUV line in November, the same month it previewed the upcoming revived HR-V nameplate at the Los Angeles show

With the rapid decline in prices at the pump, currently equivalent to about GBP0.47/litre [vs around GBP1.20 in UK after recent falls - ed], US November light vehicle sales kicked into high gear, coming in 4.6% ahead of last year and 1.7% ahead of October 2014.

Last month’s 1.3m deliveries produced a seasonally adjusted annualised rate (SAAR) of 17.2m, about 900,000 more sales than November 2013. This is the second-highest SAAR of 2014: August’s was 17.53m.

Honda enjoyed a record November thanks to a 20.8% increase in CUV/SUV sales. Subaru set another monthly sales record on its way to setting a new annual sales record. Mercedes-Benz had a record November, taking the top spot for the month in the premium segment. BMW is still in the lead for the year but the margin is only about 1,800 sales so look for a shoot-out this month.

Audi set its 47th consecutive monthly sales record and has already surpassed its previous annual benchmark. Porsche chipped in a November record of its own. Between the two, and the VW Golf, the Volkswagen Group was in the black last month.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) reported the first US sales for Alfa Romeo since 1995 with 24 units of the new 4C. Maserati sales continued to grow.

The Chrysler side of the house reported a 20.1% jump in sales, the largest increase of the Detroit automakers. In November, it was Ram trucks that led the way, followed by Jeep. Chrysler’s new 200 saloon had its best sales yet as passenger cars took a slightly larger slice of the pie. Jeep again was top CUV/SUV brand in November.

Ford turnover fell 1.8% last month, although the revamped Mustang received a warm reception from buyers. Sales of the original pony car soared 62.4% in November. Ford brand truck sales fell 9.9% as the company transitions to the redesigned, part-aluminium F-series.

The new Transit, replacing the long-running E-series vans, and Chrysler's Ram ProMaster both outsold the Mercedes/Freightliner Sprinter last month. The three Eurovans combined for a healthy 10,673 sales in November, beating the 10,486 total sales of traditional vans from Chevrolet, Ford, GMC and Nissan.

General Motors parlayed the 27% increase reported by Buick into a 6.5% improvement in total sales. The new Colorado and Canyon light trucks did reasonably well in their second month on the market but currently pose no threat to their rivals from Nissan and Toyota.

Sales of full-size pickups softened in November, growing just 6.0%, mostly due to the 9.9% drop in sales of the market-leading F-series.

Toyota sales rose 3.0% in November. As with Honda, the driving force was its CUV/SUV lineup. The Sienna was the most popular MPV in November, beating the second-place Dodge Caravan by 104 sales. Lexus had another strong month as deliveries of its passenger cars rose 10.7%.

Nissan’s win streak ended at 13 months. Weakness in car sales and a 13.3% drop in Infiniti turnover were the culprits.

Jaguar Land Rover took a big hit in November as both brands stumbled.

While a 16m sales year looks to be in the bag, industry watchers are urging caution for those looking for a blowout December. Strong 'Black Friday' weekend sales likely pulled some December deliveries ahead. Last month’s higher transaction prices took some of the sting out of incentive spending but car companies might be willing to keep the cash and be happy with the best sales year since before the recession.

Manufacturer Current Month 11/14/2014 Current Month 11/13/2014 Volume Change Daily Sales Rate Change Market Share 11/14/2014 Market Share 11/13/2014 Calendar Year-To-Date 2014 Calendar Year-To-Date 2013 Volume Change
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 170839 142275 20.1% 24.9% 13.1% 11.4% 1897378 1633215 16.2%
Ford Motor Co. 186334 189705 -1.8% 2.2% 14.3% 15.2% 2251946 2268644 -0.7%
General Motors Co. 225818 212060 6.5% 10.7% 17.3% 17% 2660525 2555921 4.1%
Detroit Total 582991 544040 7.2% 11.4% 44.8% 43.7% 6809849 6457780 5.5%
American Honda* 121814 116507 4.6% 8.7% 9.4% 9.4% 1403591 1390057 1%
Mazda North America 21242 20754 2.4% 6.4% 1.6% 1.7% 280993 260982 7.7%
Mitsubishi 6534 6071 7.6% 11.9% 0.5% 0.5% 71098 55804 27.4%
Nissan North America 103188 106528 -3.1% 0.7% 7.9% 8.6% 1269577 1138662 11.5%
Subaru* 45243 36621 23.5% 28.5% 3.5% 2.9% 463740 384511 20.6%
American Suzuki 0 0 N/A N/A 0% 0% 0 5946 -100%
Toyota Motor Sales 183346 178044 3% 7.1% 14.1% 14.3% 2158714 2045199 5.6%
Japan Total 481367 464525 3.6% 7.8% 37% 37.3% 5647713 5281161 6.9%
Hyundai 53672 56005 -4.2% -0.3% 4.1% 4.5% 661211 657778 0.5%
Kia 44936 45411 -1% 2.9% 3.4% 3.6% 534647 501548 6.6%
Korea Total 98608 101416 -2.8% 1.1% 7.6% 8.1% 1195858 1159326 3.2%
BMW North America 36028 36327 -0.8% 3.1% 2.8% 2.9% 347709 331801 4.8%
Daimler AG* 37925 37347 1.5% 5.6% 2.9% 3% 328319 306922 7%
Jaguar Land Rover 4897 6047 -19% -15.8% 0.4% 0.5% 59801 59654 0.2%
Maserati North America* 1203 887 35.6% 41.1% 0.1% 0.1% 11531 3715 210.4%
Volkswagen Group** 53387 48652 9.7% 14.1% 4.1% 3.9% 542007 556336 -2.6%
Volvo Cars North America 3623 4233 -14.4% -11% 0.3% 0.3% 51446 56345 -8.7%
Other (est.) 2626 1715 53.1% 59.2% 0.2% 0.1% 28878 29997 -3.7%
Europe Total 139689 135208 3.3% 7.4% 10.7% 10.9% 1369691 1344770 1.9%
Total Light Vehicles 1302655 1245189 4.6% 8.8% 100% 100% 15023111 14243037 5.5%

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