November Auto Sales Soar Over 2009

November was much kinder to auto dealers this year than it was in 2009. Vehicle sales were up 16.9% year-over-year for the big seven auto companies, including GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler, Nissan, and Hyundai. That's quite an improvement, though sales were down 8.5% from October. While sales were generally pretty strong last month, there were some clear standouts within this universe of automakers.

Here's a chart showing vehicle sales growth in November:

auto sales year-over-year 2010-11.png

Obviously, no one came close to Hyundai's growth. It experienced a 45.2% increase in vehicle sales. Nissan was a distant second, with its sales rising by 26.8%. Meanwhile, Toyota barely managed to improve its sales, with a relatively tiny 3.3% increase year-over-year.

Yet the automakers' performance compared to October was far less impressive:

auto sales month-over-month 2010-11.png

Just Nissan managed to sell more vehicles in November than October. Chrysler, however, saw a huge month-over-month dive, down 18%.

Even though all automakers did better in November 2010 compared to 2009, some did better than others. That means their market shares shifted a bit:

auto market change 2010-11 v2.png

Toyota gave up a significant 2.4% of its vehicle sales share within this universe of seven. Meanwhile, Ford and Hyundai each added to their shares, up 1.2% and 1.1%, respectively. Here's how the market share breaks down now, as of November 2010:

auto pie share 2010-11.png

Overall, it was a solid month for auto sales. Still, a few automakers, like Toyota and GM, might need to do some soul searching to figure out how Hyundai, Ford, and Nissan are growing more rapidly and gaining market share.

(Source: Marketwatch - Toyota, GM, Chrysler, Honda, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai)

Presented by

Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.

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