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Truck Sales Soar 27.2% : U.S. Car Sales Rise Modest 6.1%

December 03, 1987|Reuters

DETROIT — New car sales by the major Detroit auto makers rose a modest 6.1% in late November, the companies said Thursday, but truck sales by the Big Three auto firms continued to boom with a 27.2% increase.

Company executives attributed the results to a new round of sales incentives on selected models that the auto makers unveiled in recent days to help clear out their oversized inventories.

December Improvement

"We have been watching the sales numbers closely and haven't seen any letdown we can attribute to stock market gyrations," said Louis Lataif, Ford Motor Co. sales vice president.

C. N. Moore, General Motors Corp. sales chief, pointed to "new incentives by GM car and truck divisions (that) stimulated sales in late November" and predicted that the trend would improve in December.

Best Year in History

Analysts projected the car sales volumes for the Nov. 21 to 30 period at an adjusted annual selling rate of 6.8 million, the same as last year and better than the 5.9 million annual selling rate for the entire month.

GM, suffering all year from weak volumes, said that its late November domestic model car sales rose 3.5% to 77,118 from 74,481 while trucks jumped 32.7% to 37,278 from 28,089.

The Chevrolet and Pontiac divisions showed the best comparisons.

Ford, enjoying the best year in the industry, said its domestic car sales for the period rose 13.9% to 55,374 from 48,602 while trucks rose 35.2% to 41,100 from 30,401.

No. 3 auto maker Chrysler Corp. meanwhile said car sales eased 1.3% to 24,372 from 24,700 with trucks posting sales gains of 10 percent to 24,701 from 22,531.

The late November sales numbers marked the fourth report since the Black Monday stock crash, which had led several analysts to scale back their outlook for the industry.

Strong Year

But the lack of a collapse in business for the nation's auto dealers has led Detroit executives to stick by predictions that the industry will generate total retail car and truck sales of at least 15 million for all of 1987.

Although this would be down more than 1 million from last year's record 16.3 million vehicle sales, it would still make 1987 one of the strongest sales years in the industry's history.

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