clear
Saturday September 5th, 2015 10:22AM

Holiday weekend gives a boost to auto sales

By The Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) -- The holiday weekend was good to U.S. automakers, as sales reports indicate the auto industry is on track to beat strong sales numbers from a year ago.

Chrysler's U.S. sales rose a surprising 16 percent in November, while General Motors posted a 14 percent gain. Toyota sales rose 10 percent, and Ford notched a 7 percent increase.

"Industry sales in November picked up after Thanksgiving contributing to the best sales pace of the year," said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager.

One of the month's stars was the all-new Jeep Cherokee small crossover SUV, which notched the rare achievement of sales of more than 10,000 in its first full month on the market.

"That is a big number," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of auto sales forecasting for LMC Automotive, an industry consulting firm.

Overall, Chrysler sold just over 142,000 vehicles last month for its best November in six years, up from nearly 123,000 a year ago. Sales of Jeeps rose 30 percent, and the brand had its best November ever.

With the success of the Cherokee, Chrysler took advantage of a shift in the market toward smaller SUVs.

Erich Merkle, Ford's top sales analyst, said small crossover SUVs like the Cherokee and Ford Escape continued to gobble up market share during November, gaining two full percentage points over a year ago to 15.5 percent of U.S. sales. The gains came at the expense of small and midsize cars. Midsize cars fell one point to 14.5 percent, while small cars dropped a point to around 20 percent, Merkle said.

The Cherokee's sculpted look annoyed Jeep purists. But Schuster says the styling may have paid off. "It sends a signal that the Cherokee, which has been polarizing in the industry, may be appealing to consumers more than critics," he said.

Chrysler delayed Cherokee shipments for several months while engineers tinkered with its new nine-speed automatic transmission to make it shift more smoothly. Dealers didn't have a normal inventory until mid-November, the company said.

David Kelleher, owner of a Chrysler dealership in Glen Mills, Pa., outside Philadelphia, said his dealership sold 21 Cherokees last month. That helped the store reach its best November sales since Kelleher bought it eight years ago.

Pickup trucks once again notched double-digit gains for the Detroit automakers. Sales of Ford's F-Series, the best-selling vehicles in the U.S., rose 16 percent to 65,501. GM reported sales of the Chevrolet Silverado, its best-seller, rose 12 percent, while sales of the GMC Sierra gained 23 percent. For Chrysler, sales of the Ram pickup increased by 22 percent.

Ahead of the reports, industry analysts estimated that total U.S. sales rose 3.6 percent to 6.3 percent for November. That's slower growth than earlier in the year, mainly because sales in November of 2012 were the best in nearly five years. Superstorm Sandy hit in October last year, delaying some East Coast sales until November.

All automakers report monthly sales figures on Tuesday.

Dealers contacted by The Associated Press all said sales started slowly, but they did well after Thanksgiving, boosting their monthly totals over November of last year.

"Black Friday did give us a lift," said Bill Perkins, president of two Chevrolet dealerships in the Detroit suburbs of Taylor and Eastpointe, Mich. "A lot of people were out shopping over the weekend."

Normally November is a lackluster month for auto sales. But automakers, particularly Ford and General Motors, offered deals this year that brought out buyers, according to the Kelley Blue Book auto website.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
From eggs to Christmas trees, USDA promotional programs sometimes generate controversy
WASHINGTON (AP) — The slogans are familiar: "The Incredible Edible Egg," ''Pork: The Other White Meat," and "Got Milk?"They've all been part of promotional campaigns overseen by the Agriculture Depart...
8:37AM ( 1 hour ago )
DUI courts aim to change behavior of repeat offenders
In courtrooms around the country, judges are teaming up with prosecutors, defense attorneys, parole officers and substance abuse counselors to make long-term changes in the behavior of people with multiple arrests for impaired driving.
8:19AM ( 2 hours ago )
Vast and smoky California wildfire expected to rage into Labor Day weekend, campgrounds closed
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A vast and stubborn wildfire that has proven California's biggest this year was expect to spew smoke through the long Labor Day weekend, leaving some campgrounds empty and prompt...
4:50AM ( 5 hours ago )
Oregon judge refuses to perform same-sex marriages, asks couples to go to other judges
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Marion County Judge Vance Day is being investigated by a judicial fitness commission in part over his refusal to perform same-sex marriages on religious grounds, a spokesman for the...
3:08AM ( 7 hours ago )
Authorities say arson was cause of fire at Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington state
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — A pre-dawn blaze that heavily damaged a Planned Parenthood clinic was arson, fire investigators in Washington state determined Friday.Pullman Fire Department investigator Chris W...
12:06AM ( 10 hours ago )