US Auto Sales Reach November Record image

Auto sales in November managed to reach a record for that month as customers replaced their vehicles destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

Sales last month increased 15% to 1.14 million units, a record for the month since 2007, when the recession led to a dramatic fall in demand and forced GM and Chrysler to fill for bankruptcy. Nissan, Honda and Ford reported better than expected sales, while Hyundai, Chrysler and Toyota’s strong sales are expected to continue until the end of the year, according to analysts.

“Vehicle sales are one of the encouraging spots of our economy,” said Gary Bradshaw, portfolio manager with Hodges Capital Management in Dallas.

The only automaker that fell short of expectations was GM which benefited less from the November recovery after Hurricane Sandy hit the US East Coast, as a smaller share of the automaker’s sales come from that region. The increased consumer demand and confidence, as well as the improving housing market, make industry executives optimistic about the year to come.

“Looking at the national picture, the apparent recovery in housing that we talked about last month and the encouraging new data on consumer sentiment and confidence are all positive factors,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations.