November sales: General Motors rises 14% image

Though behind Chrysler Group with its 16% jump, GM made a strong statement in November with a 14% rise in sales, and all three major automakers reported their best U.S. sales month in six and a half years in November as aggressive discounting and the continued popularity of big pickup trucks helped trounce Wall Street forecasts.

General Motors delivered 212,060 units in November, up 13.7% from the same period last year for the company’s best November since 2007 and in line with estimates.

“The sheer number of award-winning new models we have helped us grow faster than the industry for the second month in a row,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations, in a statement. “November sales were strong at all four of our brands, and demand was robust for everything from cars to crossovers to pickups,” he added.

Shares of GM were down 0.7% to $38.84 in morning trading. But the stock is up 53.3% year-over-year. This is because some investors worried that the discounts signaled a return to the unhealthy practices that eroded industry profits in the years before the global recession of 2009.

Other investors also fretted that consumers’ need to replace aging vehicles, which propelled U.S. light vehicle sales after the recession, would not support the current pace of sales gains in 2015 and beyond.

GM’s best selling brand was Chevrolet with 145,089 units sold, up 12.6%. With 19.8% growth, GMC had the biggest gain and the second most vehicles sold at 35,727. As of the end of the month, GM had a 96-day inventory supply with 727,812 units.

Investment analyst Ryan Brinkman at J.P. Morgan called GM results solid and pointed out that they included higher sales to more-profitable retail customers, while heavily discounted fleet sales fell.