November sales set pace for record year

November sales set pace for record year

November, normally a modest month for auto sales, exceeded analystsê expectations of flat or modest gains. Most automakers saw sales gains in the range of 0.3 percent (Ford) to 3.8 percent (Nissan Motor Co.). November is expected to be the third month running with a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) above 18 million a record.

–The auto industry is on track to exceed 2015 expectations,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Division. LMC Automotiveês Jeff Schuster said that November sales put the industry on track to set a 15-year record for the year.

Sales of crossovers and light trucks are as strong as ever, as gas prices fall below $2.00 in much of the country. –The phenomenal growth of crossovers in a record-setting market is the biggest sales story of 2015,”said Kurt McNeil, GMês U.S. vice president of sales.

One driver of the strong sales is hefty incentives, which were 6 percent higher than in November 2014, according to TrueCar. That concerns some analysts, including Jonathan Banks, executive analyst at the Used Car Guide division of J.D. Power. –Weêre getting to 17 million, but at a cost,” he said at the recent National Remarketing Conference, according to WardsAuto. Lease incentives are especially high, which Banks says is a problem for mainstream brands, such as Ford and Toyota.

Average transaction prices rose in November, but just 0.7 percent from a year ago, said Kelley Blue Book a change from the recent rate of 2 to 3 percent.

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