U.S. new-vehicle sales declined on a year-over-year basis in November, but the seasonally adjusted annualized rate for 2018 improved to 17.55 million new units, according to manufacturer data compiled by Automotive News. Assuming dealers can maintain that pace in December, they will exceed earlier forecasts by more than 200,000 units.
Total sales declined by 0.5% compared with November 2017, led by Genesis, which watched its numbers fall by an alarming 76.5% as it pivots away from parent company Hyundai. Other factories reporting year-over-year declines included Fiat (-24.5%), Nissan (-21.6%), and Chrysler (-20.7%).
Among the big gainers were Ram (43.5%), Alpha Romeo (35.9%), and Land Rover (25.7%). Infiniti sales improved by 8.1% year-over-year, good enough to set a new November record for Nissan’s luxury brand.
New-car sales now stand at 15,695,288 through the first 11 months of the year. Analysts agreed that, among U.S. drivers, cars are out and SUVs, CUVs, and trucks are in.
“Initial results for November sales affirm the new normal of consumer preference for utility vehicles. The recent L.A. [auto] show demonstrates that automakers continue to invest in utility vehicles which provide the strongest volume opportunity going forward,” said Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit. “Sedans and passenger cars remain an important part of the market, though diminished compared with prior years. The market remains at a healthy level, with variability in automaker performances as companies search for the right balance between incentives, production adjustments, and work through a faster-than-expected decline in passenger-car sales.”