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US: Light vehicle market holds steady in Nov

By just-auto.com editorial team | 24 November 2008

November's US new vehicle sales (including fleet sales) are forecast to reach 850,000 units, according to Edmunds.com. While that's still a whopping 27.6% drop on the same month last year, the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) for the month is expected to be 11.5 million units, a slight gain on October's SAAR. What Edmunds terms 'record high incentives' are helping to secure sales.

Automakers may at least be relieved that the market didn't fall still further after precipitous plunge when the SAAR fell to just 10.6m units. Even allowing for heavy incentives, Edmunds; forecast for November at least holds out the hope that a point of underlying market bottoming may be close.

November 2008 had 25 selling days, the same as last November 2007.

"Sales improved slightly over October thanks to near record high incentives and perhaps a sense of relief that the presidential election is over," observed Jesse Toprak, Executive Director of Industry Analysis for Edmunds.com.

"Also, remarkably low gas prices motivated shoppers to seriously consider the tremendous deals available on SUVs and trucks."

The combined monthly U.S. market share for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (GM) domestic nameplates is estimated to be 47.1% in November 2008, down from 51.1% in November 2007 and up slightly from 47% in October 2008.

"Now the domestic automakers are scrambling to develop a viability proposal in order to earn a government loan," commented Michelle Krebs, Senior Editor of Edmunds' AutoObserver.com.

"It is more important than ever for them to demonstrate that their products are appealing to the American public."

Edmunds.com predicts Chrysler will sell 94,000 units in November 2008, down 41.7 % compared to November 2007 and down 0.3 % from October 2008. This would result in a new car market share of 11.0 % for Chrysler in November 2008, down from 13.7 % in November 2007 and down from 11.3 % in October 2008.

Edmunds.com predicts Ford will sell 119,000 units in November 2008, down 33.1 % compared to November 2007 and down 7.8 % from October 2008. This would result in a new car market share of 14.0 % of new car sales in November 2008 for Ford, down from 15.1 % in November 2007 and down from 15.5 % in October 2008.

Edmunds.com predicts GM will sell 188,000 units in November 2008, down 28.2 % compared to November 2007 and up 11.2 % from October 2008. GM's market share is expected to be 22.1 % of new vehicle sales in November 2008, down slightly from 22.3 % in November 2007 and up from 20.3 % in October 2008.

Edmunds.com predicts Honda will sell 88,000 units in November 2008, down 20.6 % from November 2007 and up 3.0 % from October 2008. Honda's market share is expected to be 10.4 % in November 2008, up from 9.5 % in November 2007 and up from 10.3 % in October 2008.

Edmunds.com predicts Nissan will sell 57,000 units in November 2008, down 29.3 % from November 2007 and up 0.2 % from October 2008. Nissan's market share is expected to be 6.7 % in November 2008, down from 6.9 % in November 2007 and down from 6.8 % in October 2008.

Edmunds.com predicts Toyota will sell 150,000 units in November 2008, down 24.2 % from November 2007 and down 1.7 % from October 2008. Toyota's market share is expected to be 17.6 % in November 2008, up from 16.8 % in November 2007 and down from 18.2 % in October 2008.