Automobile sales in the United States market grew by 14% in November 2011. This was their biggest gain since the month of April. This was mainly achieved due to contributions from the Chrysler Group, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Hyundai-Kia.
On its seasonally adjusted annual figures, the sales had touched a figure of 13.6 million units in November. This was the highest recorded figures post August 2009, the month in which the special incentive launched in the US called “cash-for-clunkers” had created a revival in demand for automobiles. This had followed a drastic situation that saw auto giant General Motors and Chrysler go bankrupt.
Commenting on this situation, Ford Head of Marketing, Sales and Support, United States, Ken Czubay said that the sales rate in the industry had been crossing the 13 million mark consistently over the past three months , which goes to suggest that the present aberration is not just a mere aberration. He also said that Ford believed that the demand for replacements would continue and the same would help in 2012 achieving even stronger levels.
The SAAR had been expected by the analysts to stay within the range of 13.45 million, which would be a growth from the 13.26 million in October. The SAAR had reached a peak figure of 13.29 million this February after which the recovery again stalled following the earthquake and subsequent Tsunami that rocked Japan in the month of March.
The auto sales in the US market has grown by 10% to reach a figure of 11.5 million units this current year counting the month of November and is predicted to touch the figure of 12.8 million units by the end of the year. This would result in the second consecutive year in which the annual growth would be greater than 1 million units following 2009, when the sales had slumped to 27 year lowest levels.
The industry also enjoyed its best month since November 2007, in terms of volume and has raised hopes of recovering (the interruption caused by the devastating earthquake and Tsunami in Japan in March, which created severe jitters in the economic circles, notwithstanding) and could carry this momentum for the rest of this year extending to 2012.
Chrysler Group recorded their biggest monthly sales increase of 45%, since coming out of bankruptcy in 2009. Similar growths were observed in Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, which grew by 46% and 41% respectively.
Hyundai-Kia enjoyed their most successful month in this year with Hyundai growing by 22% and Kia by 39% in November.
GM also grew by 7% mainly due to increased demand for their big pickups as well as the smaller cars like Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic. However, this remained one of the weakest performances delivered by GM this year. Though Chevy and GMC grew, the Cadillac and Buick fell.
However, Don Johnson, the head of sales operations in US for GM, welcomed the positive development in the auto market that saw a wide spectrum of consumers returning back.
Ford – sales increased by 13%, the biggest since April, the Ford division volumes rose by 20%.
Toyota – Finally being able to recover from the major earthquake that hit Japan in March, the company posted their first gain in sales since April, both the Toyota and the Lexus brands grew by 7%.
Nissan – the overall sales grew by 19% powered by the 22% increase of Nissan division.
Honda - still suffering from shortages in inventory post the Japan earthquake, this was the only company that suffered a decline in US sales volumes, recording a 10% drop.
Ford increases production:
With a growth of 105 in US auto sales in November and a forecast that the trend would be maintained in the near-future, Ford has planned an increase in the output of their vehicles in Q1 2012. Ford will be building 6.75 lakh cars in North America in Q1 2012, a 3% growth over Q1 2011. Q4 2011 would see them manufacture 6.74 lakh units, a gain of 14,000 from their previous forecast.
Hyundai – Supported by their latest and redesigned models like the Elantra compact, Veloster hatchback and Accent subcompact, their sales grew 22%, with the automaker expecting annual sales of 2 Lakh units for the Sonata.
Year-end promotions have been started by several automakers including Lexus and Toyota.
Higher prices of transaction:
Consumer confidence has come back to the auto segment and has reached peak levels since July with most Americans with most Americans in a spending mood on the Thanksgiving holiday.
With the lending environment also becoming more favorable, the sales of automobiles have greatly benefitted, with people particularly in the mood of replacing their aging light vehicles. This is the view that most analysts hold as with the average age of the vehicles in the roads being around 11 years. This as made most consumers in the country reach the levels where they felt the urgent need of having their vehicles replaced.
However in the broader perspective, the US economy continued to suffer owing to the housing markets being weak as well as the high degree of unemployment.
The small cars, the SUVs, full-sized vans and entry-level crossovers all continued to record good sales in the month of November. The Chevy Silverado from GM recorded 28% sales increase, Nissan Versa and Sentra increased by 38% and 35% respectively.
The light weight vehicles segment in the US Market would continue growing in the future months as well.
In the remaining part of this year, the key factor of inventory restoration is going to cause light vehicles to be sold high, said an economist.
Subaru dropped sales by 15% again impacted by the shortage in supplies. They are facing a negative growth of 2% for the year.
Stockpiling by the Japanese:
Japanese automakers were mainly into piling up their stocks in November reaching 6.23 lakh units in November which was 5.76 lakh units in October and 5.28 lakh units in September.
Subaru, Toyota and Honda were the only major automakers that suffered losses in the US market in November.
Honda lost sales by 10% as they continued to feel the negative impact of the Japan earthquake as well as recent flooding of their supply unit in Thailand. However John Mendel, a top of the company in America said that the company was hoping to close the year strongly with the recovery of production and the latest model of their CR-V being put on sale in December.