Is the economy really that sour? Judging from sales of domestic makes, it isn’t. Each of the American Big Three—Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors—reported strong gains in November. Ford and Chrysler even reported sales to be close to their pre-economic meltdown levels for the first time in years. Unlike years past when trucks and SUVs made up the bulk of growth, November’s numbers come mostly by way of compacts, sedans, and more fuel-friendly offerings.
That’s not to say trucks and SUVs didn’t pull their weight, though. Each of the domestic automakers saw double-digit growth with pickup truck sales, perhaps showing that customers are feeling more financially secure in lieu of higher gas prices. Or it could mean that trucks are just becoming more efficient with the best gains in truck sales going to the compact Chevrolet Colorado and Ford Ranger, which is being discontinued in the U.S. in favor of expanding F-150 sales.
- The Chrysler 200 shows that there’s new life in the old Chrysler Sebring platform, posting to-date figures that more than double Chrysler’s last midsizer.
- Likewise, the Jeep Compass received an overhaul last year, and sales show. It’s up nearly 1000 percent from last November with 4262 takers.
- The entire Jeep brand is up by double digits. Chrysler is doing something right with this brand, as it’s up more than 115,000 sales through November alone.
- We love the 2012 Dodge Durango, and it appears the buying public does, too. It’s gone from a has-been to a runaway success overnight.
- The full-size Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, and Chrysler 300 have all picked up steam with their redesigns.
- With limited dealer support and a shaky marketing campaign, it’s not hard to figure out why the 2012 Fiat 500 has only found 17,444 owners through November—well below the company’s first-year goal of 50,000.
- The Ram Dakota is the only small pickup truck that didn’t buffer its sales numbers last month.
- Is the Dodge Caliber still on sale? No one seemed to notice.
- The Ford Fiesta continues to lead the small-car revolution for the Blue Oval brand.
- Despite being at the end of its life, the Ford Fusion midsize sedan has out-hustled last year’s sales by the tune of 30,000 cars so far.
- Ford has sold almost three times as many Explorer SUVs than the Dodge Durango. Switching to a car-based platform has paid its dividends.
- Despite—or maybe because of—the fact that we’re not getting the next-generation Ford Ranger on U.S. soil, numbers have taken off for this soon-to-be-discontinued compact truck.
- With its replacement introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2012 Ford Escape is reaping the benefits of huge incentives to clear lot space.
- While both the Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT are supposed to replace the defunct Lincoln Town Car, neither is doing a particularly good job.
- Some people speculated the new Explorer would cannibalize sales of the already slow-selling Ford Flex crossover. They were right.
- It isn’t that the Ford Mustang is a flop, but it’s now lagging 16,000 sales behind its archrival, the Chevrolet Camaro.
General Motors’ Winners:
- Although sales have begun slowing down for the Chevrolet Cruze, it has more than doubled last year’s combined figures from the Cruze and discontinued Chevrolet Cobalt.
- The Buick Regal midsize sedan has filled a much-needed place in the premium brand’s lineup to great success.
- Although Cadillac sold just 196 Escalade EXT pickup trucks, at more than $64,000 apiece—almost double the price of the similar Chevy Avalanche—we can’t imagine Caddy’s too upset.
- The Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Terrain midsize crossovers have made massive leaps in sales.
- So far, it looks like the Chevrolet Sonic is off to a strong start, replacing the unloved Aveo.
General Motors’ Losers:
- The full-size Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia crossovers took a tumble last month.
- Outgoing models like the Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS and STS, and Chevrolet HHR dropped almost straight downward. Only the Cadillacs have a replacement lined up in the 2013 Cadillac XTS.
- The Chevrolet Impala is also aged, but it isn’t being replaced. Its sales languished last month as a result.
Source: Chrysler, Ford, and GM