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November U.S. Vehicle Sales Down

More of same doldrums predicted as market languishes.

by on Nov.19, 2009

November new-vehicle retail sales are expected to decline compared with one year ago, according to J.D. Power and Associates, which gathers real-time transaction data from more than 8,900 new car dealers across the United States.

November new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 547,800 units. This represents a seasonally adjusted selling rate (SAAR) – take a deep breath — of 8.2 million units. Total sales for November are projected to come in at 687,800 units, up 0.4% from November 2008, with fleet volume expected to increase by 3.5% from one year ago. Automakers and dealers continue to be punished by the ongoing Great Recession and a jobless recovery.

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The latest prediction confirms the cautious attitude of most industry executives, who while trying to talk the market up, are extremely conservative in their private statements to media, as well as with their production scheduling. As always, follow the actions of corporations not their pronouncements.

Severely depressed sales would normally be good news for consumers, as it would prompt higher incentives, thereby decreasing prices.

However, the drastic cutbacks in production and factory closings that have occurred during the past several years and loss hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of autoworkers’ jobs has changed the old marketing equation. Inventories are now being tightly controlled, and the amount of incentives is decreasing as most makers try to bolster bottom lines by increasing prices.

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