Ford, Toyota post slight Nov. gains; GM, Chrysler sales decline

Ford, Toyota post slight Nov. gains; GM, Chrysler sales decline http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071203/UPDATE/712030452/1148/AUTO01
The Detroit News
Ford Motor Co. posted virtually flat sales for November while Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A and American Honda Motor Co. said their sales were the best-ever for the month.
Chrysler LLC said its U.S. sales were off 2 percent in November while General Motors Corp. reported that sales were down 11 percent to 263,654 vehicles.
Demand for GM's trucks slipped by more than 15 percent, although the automaker said sales of its more fuel-efficient models such as the Chevrolet Aveo and Pontiac G5 and the redesigned Malibu sedan were encouraging. Like its rivals, GM is pulling out of sales to daily rental fleets, moving 14,000 fewer units through that channel than in November 2006.
Chrysler said it sold 161,088 units. Gainers included the Sebring convertible, the Town & Country minivan and the Dodge Charger while consumers were more inclined to bypass large SUVs such as the Jeep Commander.
Ford said continued demand for crossovers and fuel-sippers, as well as increased fleet sales, drove its U.S. sales in November to 182,951 units, up 0.4 percent from 182,259 a year ago.
The company said sales of its Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossover vehicles were strong, as were those of its smaller SUVs, the Ford Escape and the Mercury Mariner. Hybrid versions of the Escape and Mariner sold at record levels in November.
Sales of the 2008 Focus were up 18 percent compared to a year ago, helped by the SYNC in-car entertainment and technology system.
Ford also continued its planned withdrawal from sales to daily rental car fleets, which were down 6 percent compared to a year ago. However, sales to government and commercial fleets were up 25 percent, helping to offset a 3 percent decline in sales to individual retail customers.
Ford also said it plans to make 685,000 vehicles in North America in the first quarter of 2008; that's down from 740,000 in the same period a year ago.
Toyota also reported a minute percentage increase but said its November sales of 197,189 units, up 0.3 percent over last year, was a record for the month.
Sales of passenger cars were up 6.2 percent, led by the Camry sedan. Sales of the hybrid Camry were up 65 percent compared to a year ago, and the hybrid Prius post a 109 percent increase in sales to 16,737 units.
Toyota's light trucks and its Lexus division posted sales declines.
Honda said its November sales were up 4.7 percent to 111,431 units, compared to 106,446 a year ago.
The CR-V, Fit and redesigned Accord led Honda division sales; at Acura, the MDX SUV was in demand.
Other automakers reporting November U.S. sales today include:
*Audi of America Inc., down 1.1 percent to 9,104 units
*Nissan North America Inc., up 6.1 percent to 80,683 units
*Subaru of America Inc., down 5.8 percent to 14,868 units
*Kia Motors America, up 8.9 percent to 24,177 units
*Volvo Cars of North America LLC, down 11 percent to 8,243 units
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