Chevrolet Colorado in showroom GM FBN

(Reuters)

Auto Sales Ride Wave of Holiday Deals

By Auto FOXBusiness

The auto industry has joined the holiday fun, as Black Friday deals lifted November sales after a sleepy start to the fall.

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The kickoff to the holiday shopping season proved to be a boon for General Motors (GM), Ford (F) and others. As Ford’s Mark LaNeve noted, Black Friday has become “one of the cornerstone selling events on the automotive calendar,” marking a period of heavy advertising across most brands. Black Friday promotions paid off by driving consumers to showrooms to cap the month.

“I’d characterize the month as steady, and a then pretty strong close in the last week, certainly in our case,” LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, told analysts and reporters on a conference call.

November turned things around following an October that saw U.S. sales drop 5.8%. Year-to-date figures through the end of the month were down 0.2%, due to a dramatic shift in buying trends that has left passenger cars in the dust. Meanwhile, trucks and sport-utility vehicles are going strong, and they carried the industry to stronger results last month.

GM sales, which grew 10.2% overall to 252,644 units, got a boost from the Chevrolet and Cadillac SUVs, as well as Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks. GMC contributed a 14% increase in sales, as all but one model—the Terrain—recorded gains.

Ford sold 18.9% more SUVs, and F-Series trucks had their best November in 15 years with a 10.6% gain to 72,089 units. Ford’s total sales checked in at 197,574 vehicles, up 5.2%.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) also saw an increase in truck purchases, although weaker sales at Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler dragged total sales to a 14% decline. According to Kelley Blue Book’s estimates, Fiat Chrysler was the only automaker expected to report lower monthly sales.

Toyota (TM) and Honda (HMC) reported sales growth of 4.3% and 6.5%, respectively.

Incentive spending jumped to $3,475 from $3,076 per vehicle versus November 2015, according to TrueCar (TRUE) data.

In addition to the Black Friday frenzy, sales reports benefited from two extra selling days compared to last November.

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