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International Brands Gain Ground in November

December 4, 2017

Honda’s sales were up 8.2% in November, leading a surge in sales for international brands in an otherwise plateauing U.S. market. Photo courtesy American Honda Motor Co.
Honda’s sales were up 8.2% in November, leading a surge in sales for international brands in an otherwise plateauing U.S. market. Photo courtesy American Honda Motor Co.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Brands sold by America’s 9,600 international nameplate franchises accounted for 56.2% of all new vehicles sold in the United States last month, up from 55.3% a month earlier, according to the November sales figures released by the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA).

AutoData Corp. reports that the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for November was 17.48 million units versus 17.71 million units a year ago. Total industry unit deliveries, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, increased nearly 1% compared to last November.

International brands as a group slightly outperformed the whole, rising 1.76%. Sales for all brands were down 1.5% year to date, increasing the likelihood that 2017 will mark the first year since the Great Recession that auto sales did not grow. These numbers include an estimate of sales for the Nissan and Infiniti brands, which were prevented from reporting November figures by a systems glitch.

“International nameplate brands continue to perform well in today’s market,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “Demand is steady, and dealers are in a position to end the year on solid footing and begin 2018 with a competitive edge.”

International brands were led last month by Honda (up 8.2% from last November, a brand record for the month), Mercedes-Benz (up 3.6%), and Mitsubishi (up 24.8%). Most sales improvements were driven by light truck purchases, which rose 6.6% as a segment from last November, while cars continued to lag, down 8.2% from a year ago.

International auto sales in the U.S. totaled 782,288 in November, up from 748,614 in October but down from 848,906 in September. Asian brands occupied 45.9% of the November auto market, up from 45.6 in October. Overall, Asian nameplate dealers sold 639,223 vehicles in November, a 1.3% improvement from November 2016.

European brands sold 143,065 units in November, up from 130,171 vehicles in October and 140,857 in September. They held 10.3% of the November U.S. auto market, up from 9.6% in October. Overall sales for European brands were up 3.8% from last November and 2.2% for the year, according to the AIADA.

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