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Automakers Give Thanks for Strong November Sales

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The American car and truck buyer went back to the auto showroom in a big way last month.

In fact, November auto sales are tracking to be the strongest of the year.

Automakers posted stronger than expected sales, lead by Chrysler, where business jumped nearly 45% compared to November of a year ago.

Here's a quick break down of the numbers:

  • Chrysler up 44.5%
  • VW up 40.7%
  • Nissan up 19.4%
  • Ford up 13.2%
  • GM up 6.9%

What was driving sales?

A combination of stronger consumer confidence, slightly higher incentives, and continued pent up demand convinced Americans it was time to a buy a new car or truck. Don Johnson, VP of sales for General Motors attributes the gain to a steadily improving economy. Erich Merkle, the Chief sales analyst at Ford says, "Because the average age of the vehicle is just so old, what we are seeing is that pent-up demand is starting to be unleashed."

Even more encouraging for the industry and the American economy is the fact automakers think sales should at least maintain this pace at the start of 2012.

Among the major gains among individual models:

  • Chevy Cruze up 64.1%
  • Jeep Wrangler up 41%
  • Ford Escape up 30.6%
  • Nissan Altima up 12.2%

Among luxury brands Mercedes sales skyrocketed 55.2%.

Here's a look at November sales for the other major automakers:

  • Hyundai up 22%
  • BMW up 14.8%
  • Toyota up 6.7%
  • Honda down 10.1%

The monthly sales rate of 13.63 million makes November the best month for auto sales this year and the strongest since Cash for Clunkers in 2009.

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