Hyundai Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. led the first monthly gain in U.S. auto sales since government stimulus measures ended, signaling buyers are returning to showrooms as the economy stabilizes.
Hyundai’s sales surged 46 percent in November and Nissan’s rose 21 percent, industry researcher Autodata Corp. said. Toyota Motor Corp. posted a 2.6 percent increase, exceeding analyst estimates. The annual sales rate was 10.93 million vehicles, up from 10.41 million a year earlier, when seasonally adjusted for two fewer sales days in November 2009, according to Autodata.
The results add to evidence that a gradual economic recovery is taking hold, after the deepest recession since the Great Depression led to the bankruptcies of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Group LLC. U.S. auto sales dropped the previous two months after being boosted in August by the government’s “cash for clunkers” rebate program that ended Aug. 24.
“Sales rising without the help of government incentives shows the economy is recovering,” said Mitsuru Kurokawa, an auto analyst with consulting company IHS Global Insight in Tokyo. “Compact models from Asian carmakers and Hyundai’s relatively affordable models are benefiting.”
November’s annual sales pace exceeded the average estimate of 10.5 million vehicles in a Bloomberg survey of seven analysts. Industrywide sales totaled 746,928 units in November, compared with 746,789 a year earlier, according to Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Autodata.