Optimism, pent-up demand, drive November auto sales

Dec 1, 2011

Car companies report their November sales today.

Chrysler’s sales rose 45 percent compared to the same month last year.  The big jump comes from three of the company's five U.S. brands.

Chrysler brand sales rose 92 percent, largely due to higher demand for the 200 and 300 sedan.  Jeep sales rose 50 percent from last November.  Dodge sales increased 43 percent.

Fiat 500 sales in the U.S.  continue to fall far short of expectations. Fiat sold 1,618 of the minicars in November. RAM truck sales rose seven percent.

General Motors’ November sales increased seven percent.

GM’s Don Johnson says consumer confidence rose in November.  He says that’s key to a healthy level of auto sales.

"Not a huge jump, we don’t see, in economic growth because of that," Johnson told Michigan Radio.  "But consumer confidence is really what’s going to underpin us as we go into 2012, so we’re really pleased to see that showing up."

Johnson says it appears total industry sales will be 13 million for the year.  That's at the low end of GM's forecast.

Other car companies including Ford report their November sales later today.