By The Numbers: No-vember

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

What a difference a month makes. The euphoria created by October's U.S. sales gains ended abruptly; November numbers fell like autumn leaves. Total light vehicle sales sank 1.6 percent compared to November last year, down 3.4 percent year-to-date (YTD). U.S. light truck sales did a November nose-dive, down 6.8 percent if you include crossovers, down 15.5 percent if you don't. In this inhospitable climate, Toyota sales shot by Chevrolet for the month, leaving Ford in the dust. While Chevy should end the year in the number two slot, Ford's stuck at number three, accounting for just 13 percent of the market. And once again, The Big 2.8's combined market share fell below fifty percent. So, it was more of the same, only more so.

Passenger Cars

Chevrolet Impala sales sank 2.5 percent compared to November of 2006, tumbling below November 2005's total. On the positive side, they're cruising on the big Mo, up 11.2 percent YTD. After four consecutive months of diminishing sales, Chrysler 300 sales finally rose 6.9 percent. YTD. In the reverse of the Impala, 300 sales are down 13.1 percent YTD. The Ford Fusion made a strong showing, ending the month up a whopping 38.8 percent over last November, a 4.8 percent improvement for the year. The Toyota Camry continued its slow, steady growth, gaining 3.6 percent on the month and 6.3 percent YTD.

Pickup Trucks

Incentives or no, the collapsing U.S. housing market and the new gas price reality has whacked pickup truck sales, but good. Chevrolet's Silverado dropped 14.1 percent, down 3.3 percent YTD. The incentives king, the Dodge Ram, didn't fare quite as badly, dropping "only" 12 percent for the month. Ram sales are down 1.5 percent YTD. Ford's F-Series cash cow's still running dry. November sales were the second lowest since November 2005, down 11.7 percent. YTD, F-Series sales slumped 12.4 percent. The new Toyota Tundra racked-up a 42.2 percent increase over last November, up 58.3 percent YTD. Yes but– November Tundra sales were the lowest since April.

Truck-Based SUVs

Large SUV sales continue their slide backwards. After the best sales month in a year and a half (October), the Chevrolet Tahoe dropped 31 percent, its worst month since January of this year. Sales are down 7.7 percent YTD. The Dodge Durango had its best showing in three months, but still sank 46.3 percent on the month, 35.1 percent YTD. Ford's once-bestselling Explorer continues its seemingly endless downwards trajectory, finishing the month 18.8 percent below last year, down 23.5 percent YTD. Toyota's 4Runner dropped 17.5 percent from last November, 14.8 percent for the year.


The Chevrolet Equinox is showing its age. Sales plummeted 32.6 percent from last November, down 21.8 percent YTD. The marked-for-death Pacifica ended the month 35.5 percent below last November's total, down 28.8 percent YTD. Ford's Escape continues to give The Blue Oval Boyz reason to live. Sales are up 22.3 percent from last year, 6.7 percent YTD. Toyota's RAV-4 dropped to its lowest level since February, but it's still 8.1 percent ahead of last November, up 15 percent YTD.

New Models

The GMC Acadia is still the Lambda king, accounting for 50 percent of the GM crossover platform's total sales. Acadia sales grew by 275 units in November. Ford Edge sales fell by 1500 units from October, but sales are still above the monthly average for the year. The Jeep Compass staunched a three-month wound, ending the month with 443 more sales than October.

Total Sales

As expected November was a cruel month for new car sales. GM 's sales were down 11 percent from last November, down 6.1 percent for the year. Thanks to fleet sales, Chrysler didn't fare quite as badly, but they're still down 2.1 percent for November, down 3.4 percent YTD. Ford had mixed results, showing a surprising 0.6 percent increase over last November. But they still have an annual deficit of 12.1 percent. Toyota finished in the black, barely– they were up from last November only 0.3 percent. They're still up 3.6 percent YTD but that number has dwindled little by little each month.

The Future

To end the year with an overall sales increases, Ford would require a major miracle. With big enough discounts, GM and Chrysler could conceivably finish on a high note– in sales if not profits. Toyota will do whatever it takes to make Tundra's sales projections, and end the year on the positive side of the sales leader. Whatever happens, there's bound to be a nasty New Year's hangover, as the carmakers either continue deep discounts or take it on the chin.

Frank Williams
Frank Williams

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  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Dec 12, 2007

    Juniper-My 55% fleet figure on the Imp is from Fleet-Central's mid year figures. I'm just throwing out a wild guess on employee sales. My point isn't based on whether the Impala is "good" or not. It is simply that the total sales figures are misleading as to it's market importance. Those figures would lesd one to think it is close to the Accord in retail strength when it is less than half as popular (Accord fleet approx. 5% IIRC). Having been in a few I think they are OVER rated, esp. on rear seat room. Wide, but head and leg room are sub-par for mid-size. EJ-Interesting, I have wondered if it was close. Bunter

  • Musah Musah on Dec 13, 2007

    Frank, by your estimates, what would be the total market share of the automakers by year end?

  • Michael S6 Took my car for oil change on Friday and dealership was working on paper. Recently one of the major health care system in our area was hacked and they had to use paper backup for three weeks. What a nightmare.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Once e-mail was adopted by my former employer, we were coached about malice software as early as the 90's. We called it "worms" back then.They were separating the computers that ran the power plants from the rest of the system in the early 00's. One plant supervisor loaded vacation pictures from a thumb drive on his work PC. His PC was immediately isolated and the supervisor in question was made an example of via a disciplinary notice. Word spread quickly!!Last I heard, they still had their own data center!! Cloud Computing, what's that?!?! 🚗🚗🚗
  • 3SpeedAutomatic At this time, GM had a "Me Too" attitude towards engine development:[list][*]the Euro luxury brands have diesels, so can we via an Olds V8[/*][*]variable value timing, welcome to the brave new world of Cadillac V8-6-4[/*][*]an aluminum block V8 engine via the HT4100, the go-go 80's[/*][*]double overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, no sweat, just like the Asian brands via NorthStar. [/*][/list]When you mindset is iron block and cast iron heads, life if easy. However, each time, GM failed to understand the nuances; intricate differences; and technical difficulty in each new engine program. Each time, GM came away with egg on its face and its reputation in ruin.If you look today, the engines in most Cadillacs are the same as in many Chevrolets. 🚗🚗🚗
  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.