DETROIT (Dec. 3, 2010)—U.S. car and truck sales jumped 17 percent last month, raising hopes the industry will end 2010 on a high note while creating momentum for the new year.
Light vehicle sales rose to 873,407 units in November, for the market's 11th advance in the past 12 months. The industry's sales total through November—10.45 million—has now topped 2009's full-year mark of 10.43 million.
For the second consecutive month, U.S. sales reached an annual selling rate of 12.26 million units, according to AutoData Corp. A year ago, light vehicles sold at an annual rate of 10.86 million units.
Analysts cited month-end deals for luring consumers to showrooms last month. Pickup trucks, crossovers and larger vehicles are also selling in higher numbers, according to Edmunds.com. New or redesigned models also helped sales at VW, Nissan, Hyundai and other auto makers.
At Ford Motor Co., new car and truck demand jumped 20 percent from a year earlier. GM's total sales rose 12 percent; its four surviving brands were up 21 percent.
Chrysler Group L.L.C. said November new vehicle demand rose 17 percent. A 58-percent surge at Jeep and robust Ram truck sales helped the auto maker offset double-digit declines at the Chrysler and Dodge brands.
Ford announced Dec. 1 that it plans to increase first-quarter production in North America by 11 percent to 635,000 units, compared with the first quarter of 2010. The car maker also expects average transaction prices to increase in coming months—in another sign that the industry is rebounding from last year's 27-year sales lows.
Sluggish job growth, a depressed housing market and overall economic jitters have produced a slow but steady rebound in new car and truck sales. But the pace of the sales uptick has often been disappointing.