November sales: US sees best results in more than six years [table] image

Powered by Black Friday sales promotions, rising incentives and alluring new models, auto sales hit a torrid pace in November — an unexpectedly total high annual selling rate of 16.4 million, the strongest month since February 2007, according to Autodata.

Black Friday promotions, which have become as much a staple of the auto business as for all retailers, gave a measurable boost over the month’s final weekend. For the entire month, according to, the average incentive was $2,507, up just 0.7% from a year earlier and down 2.1% from October. But they rose 23% at Ford from a year ago, 8.4% at GM and nearly 4% at Toyota.

“November sales were strong at all four of our brands, and demand was robust for everything from cars to crossovers to” pickups, said Kurt McNeil, vice president in charge of GM’s U.S. sales operations.

John Felice, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing sales and service, said incentive spending both by Ford and competitors increased later in the month, especially in segments such as midsize sedans.

Still, given the idea that pent-up demand from the October slowdown is fueling this year’s 7.5 percent gain in unit sales, we should look for the growth rate to slow down. Something like one percent would be more reasonable for a long-term run rate.