Economy

AUTO SALES LIVE: Industry momentum rolls on

The holiday weekend and an ongoing shift from cars to small SUVs boosted the auto industry in November.

Buyers took advantage of Black Friday deals, and analysts say the late-month surge boosted November sales above a strong month last year. Chrysler rose a surprising 16 percent. General Motors posted an increase of 14 percent while Ford sales rose 7 percent. Toyota had a 10 percent increase, Nissan sales rose 11 percent and Hyundai reported a gain of nearly 5 percent. Honda had a small decline, while Volkswagen sales dropped 16 percent.

Here's a running account of sales reports for the day, presented in reverse chronological order. All times are EST. __ --- 5:30 p.m.: The final tally: Sales rose 9 percent to 1.25 million in November, according to Autodata. Light trucks outsold cars by nearly 50,000, but cars still hold a small lead for the full year. Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of auto sales forecasting for LMC Automotive, an industry consulting firm, expects 2013 to end with sales of around 15.6 million, rising 3 percent to 16.1 million next year.

__ --- 5:20 p.m. More rivalries: Toyota Camry outsold the Honda Accord by 3,293 last month and the Nissan Altima by 5,782; the Honda Civic topped the Toyota Corolla by 3,857, even though its sales dropped nearly 13 percent; sales of the BMW 3 series totaled 10,272, better than the 7,878 recorded by the Mercedes C Class and the 6,295 in sales racked up by the Lexus ES.

__ --- 3:05 p.m. More on the red-hot small crossover SUV segment: The segment-leading Honda CR-V posted a 5.3 percent sales increase and is now out-selling the Ford Escape by 275,145 to 271,531 on the year. The redesigned Toyota RAV4 had the sharpest gain in the segment, up nearly 57 percent last month.

__ --- 3:00 p.m.: When Black Friday comes: Toyota said more than 25 percent of its sales for the month came on the final weekend. GM acknowledged that Black Friday is becoming more important for the auto industry, saying "it's obviously becoming a bigger go-to-market strategy in automotive, a little more consistent with other industries."

__ --- 2:25 p.m.: Preliminary figures from Autodata show sales ran at an annual rate of 16.4 million vehicles last month. For the year so far, Ford boasts the biggest sales gain among companies that sell at least 1 million vehicles in the U.S. at 11.7 percent, followed by Chrysler at 9.6 percent. BMW and Mercedes-Benz could both top 300,000 in U.S. sales for the year, and each shows a double-digit gain over last year.

__ --- 2:15 p.m.: Autodata estimates that Tesla, which doesn't report monthly figures, sold 1,550 Model S electric cars in the U.S. in November and has sold 17,801 to date.

"I think maybe the purists are losing out to the masses here, at least initially," LMC's Schuster said. "There's plenty about the vehicle that appeals to a general consumer."

"Showroom traffic surged over the holiday weekend for Toyota, indicating good momentum we expect to continue through the end of the year and into 2014," said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager.

"That is a big number," said LMC's Jeff Schuster.

The Chrysler brand gains 12 percent as dealers sell 11,288 Town & Country minivans, up 70 percent from the same month last year. The pickup boom rolls on — Ram sales gained 22 percent.

--7:45 a.m. Analysts expect November industry sales to rise from 3.6 percent to 6.3 percent. Here's a recap of forecasts from companies that track sales and also provide car-buying advice:

— TrueCar.com: sales of 1.21 million, up 6.3 percent.

— Edmunds.com: sales of 1.2 million, up 4.7 percent.

— Kelly Blue Book: sales of 1.19 million, up 3.6 percent.

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