[NEW YORK] US auto giants General Motors and Chrysler Tuesday rode lower gasoline prices and aggressive holiday promotions to higher November sales, while Ford Motor reported another decline.
The industry as a whole sold 1.3 million vehicles in the US in November, about 4.6 per cent more than in the year-ago period, according to industry specialist AutoData.
GM, the largest US automaker, sold 225,818 cars in November, up six percent from a year ago behind strong results for GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Tahoe trucks, as well as for some sedans.
"The buzz around Black Friday helped drive strong showroom traffic but there was a lot more at work in the market," said Kurt McNeil, US vice-president for sales at GM.
"More people have jobs and job security, their wages are starting to increase, household wealth is growing and low pump prices look like they're here to stay through 2015." Chrysler, a unit of Fiat Chrysler, sold 170,839 cars, up 20 per cent from November 2013. The company reported gains for larger vehicles, like the Ram Truck, as well as for some sedan models.
Sales at GM and Chrysler exceeded projections from online site Edmunds.com.
Japanese automaker Toyota reported a three percent gain in US sales to 183,346, also exceeding the Edmunds estimate.
But Ford saw sales decline for the third straight month, this time by two percent to 187,000 vehicles.
Ford said the drop was expected as it readies inventories for a number of major launches, including of its revamped, aluminum F-150 pickup.
The market benefitted from the fall in US fuel prices.
Gasoline prices in the US currently average US$0.73 a liter, down 15.5 per cent from on year ago, according to the American Automobile Association.
Edmunds also cited holiday season promotions as a factor in the overall industry gains.
"In recent years both car shoppers and car dealers have turned toward Black Friday as an opportunity to dive into the holiday shopping season," said Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell.
"This is a good example of how the auto industry continues to evolve to become more like the rest of the retail market."