New car sales in the United States are forecast to reach a November record of 1.37 million units this year. The current record is 1.32 million units set in November 2001. If that total is reached, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales will be 17.7 million, down from 17.9 million in October and 18.1 million in November of last year.
After months of declining sales, Volkswagen is expected to post a sales gain of 5.5% to 47,500 units compared with November of last year. The diesel emissions scandal broke in September last year and VW withdrew its diesel-powered cars from the U.S. market causing unit sales to drop sharply over the next several months. That sales are rising again should be no big surprise because the bar has been set so low. Still, it is good news for the German automaker.
Among the Detroit Three the outlook is decidedly mixed. According to researchers at Kelley Blue Book (KBB), General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) is forecast to sell 249,000 units, up 8.6% compared with November of 2015. GM’s U.S. market share is expected to reach 18.2%, up 0.7 percentage point year over year. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is touted to post a sales gain of just 0.1% with 189,000 units for a market share of 13.6%, down 0.6 point year over year. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU) is forecast to see unit sales drop 4.5% year over year to 168,000 and a market share of 12.3%, down 1.1 percentage points.
Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) is expected to sell 195,000 units in November, up 2.9% for a market share of 14.2%, down 0.2 point compared with last year. Honda Motor Corp. (NYSE: HMC) is forecast to sell 126,000 units, up 9.1% year over year for a market share gain of 0.4 point to 9.2%.
Compact crossover/SUVs are projected to be the best-selling vehicles in November, up 4.4% year over year to 237,000 units and a17.3% market share. Full-size pickups are expected to sell 190,000 units in November, up 10.2% year over year for a market share of 13.9%, up 0.8 point.
KBB analyst Tim Fleming said:
Many automotive industry sales records will be broken in November; although, there is the added benefit of two extra selling days year-over-year. With the help of substantial incentives and holiday sales events, especially Black Friday weekend, retail sales will see the most significant improvements. SUVs and trucks continue to be the biggest sellers, and in fact, cars could be outsold 2-to-1 by light trucks once the final numbers are tallied.
Automakers are scheduled to release November sales figures on Thursday, December 1.