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New-Car Shoppers Return To Market In November After Superstorm Sandy Disrupts October Sales

Strongest Sales Month Expected in December; Honda, Volkswagen Rely on Redesigns to Drive Gains

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- New-car sales are expected to hit 14.7 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in November, slightly outpacing the 14.3 million unit pace achieved last month when Superstorm Sandy swept the East Coast, according to Kelley Blue Book, www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new and used car information.  Although sales remained somewhat suppressed in storm-devastated parts of the northeast immediately following the storm, it looks as though the worst may be behind us. 

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Sales were hard hit in New Jersey, where retail sales volume declined drastically in the days immediately following the storm.  New Jersey typically accounts for 3 to 5 percent of all sales in the United States.  In the week immediately following the storm, New Jersey saw its share of nationwide sales volume decline to 1 percent, its lowest share for the state this year.  While New Jersey was most heavily impacted by Sandy's aftermath, vehicle sales in New York similarly fell.  In both states, auto sales have steadily returned to pre-storm levels of activity.

"Kelley Blue Book anticipates buyers that were forced to delay a purchase due to the onset of the storm will continue to return to market during the next several weeks," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book.  "Additional demand will come from residents that unfortunately had a vehicle destroyed.  These consumers will likely help make the last weekend of November a strong one for the automakers with demand for replacement vehicles continuing into December." 

Considering the thousands of consumers who will need to find a replacement vehicle in the near future, Kelley Blue Book expects sales to continue to trend upward during the last days of November, setting up the market for what could be a very strong December.

Sales Gains to Continue in December
While November's sales results appear on pace to achieve par for the course, December could be the strongest month in vehicle sales in 2012.  Buyers who delayed purchases or that need to replace a storm-damaged vehicle will likely hit dealerships in droves, potentially driving sales beyond a 15 million unit annual pace. 

"Although the industry can assume that a significant percentage of consumers seeking replacement vehicles will shop used, many automakers are offering residents of FEMA-designated storm-damaged areas additional cash incentives to entice consumers to shop for new cars," said Gutierrez.  "Nissan, Mazda, Ford and Chrysler are among the manufacturers offering incentives such as $500 in additional bonus cash, employee pricing or special finance deals to those in the market for a replacement vehicle." 

These special deals are in addition to the already generous incentives available in the marketplace today.  Kelley Blue Book expects low finance rates, cheap lease offers and modest cash incentives to continue throughout 2012 and into 2013, so consumers looking for a great deal should have plenty of options.  Those looking for a truck or SUV will continue to find the most generous cash incentives, while shoppers that find the remaining 2012 model-year vehicles in the marketplace also can expect to find significant savings.

Honda and Volkswagen Rely on Redesigns to Drive Year-Over-Year Gains
In November, Kelley Blue Book forecasts Honda and Volkswagen will lead industry gains once again, with each brand expected to increase by more than 20 percent on an annual basis.  Honda will continue to report strong sales of the Accord, Civic and CR-V, each of which were redesigned for the 2012 model year. 

"The Civic has remained the dominant-selling compact all year, despite a less-than-stellar reception by the automotive press," said Gutierrez.  "Once the 2013 model-year refresh arrives in early December, the industry could see Civic sales surge to new heights." 

Volkswagen has seen strong sales of the Jetta, Passatt, Golf and Tiguan drive market share up.  The Jetta and Passat each were redesigned for the 2012 model year, and have helped Volkswagen to increase market share by offering lower cost of entry while retaining the upmarket amenities Volkswagen is known for in high-end trims.

Honda and Volkswagen Lead Industry Gains






Sales Volume

Market Share

Manufacturer

Nov-12

Nov-11

YOY%

Nov-12

Nov-11

YOY

General Motors

193,100

180,402

7.0%

17.8%

18.1%

-0.3%

Ford Motor Company

167,200

166,441

0.5%

15.4%

16.7%

-1.3%

Toyota Motor Company

158,000

137,960

14.5%

14.6%

13.9%

0.7%

Chrysler Group

120,800

107,172

12.7%

11.1%

10.8%

0.4%

American Honda

108,150

83,925

28.9%

10.0%

8.4%

1.5%

Nissan North America

83,250

85,182

-2.3%

7.7%

8.6%

-0.9%

Hyundai-Kia

94,150

86,617

8.7%

8.7%

8.7%

0.0%

Volkswagen

48,150

38,112

26.3%

4.4%

3.8%

0.6%

Total

1,085,000

994,786

9.1%

-

-

-

*Includes brands not shown







Small Cars Hold Steady Despite Cheaper Gas
Although fuel prices have dropped nearly $0.50 per gallon since early September, demand for small cars has remained surprisingly resilient.  Demand for mid-size cars will remain strong as well, thanks to attractive lease offers on most of the major players in the segment.  The Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima all were redesigned this year and consumers looking for the latest and greatest can find lease payments of $250 or less on any of these fantastic redesigns.  While mid-size cars will continue to lead the industry in terms of market share, Kelley Blue Book expects sales of full-size pickup trucks to continue to increase as demand heats up for vehicles equipped with four-wheel drive in colder parts of the country.

Compacts Hold Steady Despite Falling Gas Prices





Sales Volume

Market Share

Segment

Nov-12

Nov-11

YOY%

Nov-12

Nov-11

YOY

Mid-Size Car

184,450

176,071

4.8%

17.0%

17.7%

-0.7%

Compact Car

160,580

179,059

-10.3%

14.8%

18.0%

-3.2%

Compact Crossover

119,350

115,074

3.7%

11.0%

11.6%

-0.6%

Full-Size Pickup Truck

149,750

108,391

38.2%

13.8%

10.9%

2.9%

Subcompact Car

44,500

37,302

19.3%

4.1%

3.7%

0.4%

Total

1,085,000

994,786

9.1%

-

-

-

*Includes segments not shown







For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb, and get updates on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+kbb/.

About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the industry.  Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week.  The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as governmental agencies.  KBB.com provides consumer pricing and information on cars for sale, minivans, pickup trucks, sedan, hybrids, electric cars, and SUVs.  Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com ranked highest in its category for brand equity and was named Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year by the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study.  Kelley Blue Book Co. Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader Group.

SOURCE Kelley Blue Book

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