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U.S. Auto Sales Rise in November (F, GM)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 4:15 AM
Auto-sales climbed 15 percent to 1.14 million vehicles from a year-ago period  in November, a highest sales-growth-rate in November since last five years, as the need to replace old vehicles, cheap auto financing and strong recovery in consumer sentiment following devastating hurricane Sandy which badly impacted sales towards the month-end in October, boosted the demand. According to auto-industry executives, sales are expected to remain strong as consumers will look to replace cars that are on average 11 years old, thanks to cheap and easily available auto-financing. Buoyed by strong results, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) said that it will increase its production levels for the first quarter in North America by 11% YOY. Ford reported on Monday that its cars and truck sales jumped 6.4% from the year earlier period to 177,092 vehicles. Nonetheless, America’s largest automaker, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) said that it plans to keep at least it one of the plants idle as company tries to reduce the number of piled up inventories. Although GM's overall U.S. sales in November soared 3.4% over a year earlier period to 186,505 vehicles, it fell short of analysts’ expectation. Addressing investors and analysts in conference call, a GM executive said that sales failed to pick up as GM did not offer discounts unlike many other automakers who offered huge discounts on 2012 models. "December will be a whole new ballgame, December is usually strong month for Silverado, construction is rebounding and we expect to see a resolution in Washington [ the issue of fiscal cliff],” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of GM's U.S. sales operations. Meanwhile, Chrysler Group LLC said its sales leaped by 14% to 122,565 in November compared with the same period of last year. The company, whose major shareholder is Italy's Fiat SpA, said sales of its compact Fiat 500 saw more than twofold increase  while demand for its big Ram pickups soared by 23%.  
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