„Black Friday” to boost U.S. November auto sales image

The Thanksgiving weekend sales boom helped boost U.S. auto sales in November, which are expected to grow at the fastest pace in more than two years.

Light-vehicle sales in November may have run at a 13.4 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The result would top the 12.3 million pace of 2010 and October’s 13.3 million rate, the best month since sales were boosted by „cash for clunkers” program in August 2009.

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent a record $52.4 billion during the holiday weekend, excluding autos. “The automakers are sending the consumer buying signals right now,” said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for researcher Edmunds.com. “The year-end sales, Thanksgiving sales, Black Friday sales, holiday sales, whatever it is, there’s some sort of sale out there. It makes sense for consumers that if now is the time to buy something, from jewelry, to a flat-screen TV, it must also be a good time to get a deal on a car, too,” Caldwell added.

Consumer confidence rose in November by the most in more than eight years, according to The Conference Board’s monthly index released on Monday. The percentage of consumers planning to buy a new vehicle within six months climbed to 4.1 percent, the highest since April.