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2001 Car Sales On Pace for 2nd Best Year Ever

December 4, 2001

Zero-percent financing continues to help the auto industry defy economic reality. But flat prices and huge incentives are taking much of the profit out of what may prove to be the second-best sales year in history, according to a story by Lawrence Ulrich in the Detroit Free Press.

Drawn by attractive loan deals, consumers bought an amazing 1.73 million new cars and light trucks in October -- more than any other month in history.

November results, announced Dec. 3, were less dramatic. Industry sales were up 7 percent from November 2000, to 1.3 million vehicles.

General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. reported gains for November, but DaimlerChrysler AG's traditional U.S. brands saw sales slump nearly 6 percent. Chrysler Group, the troubled U.S. arm of DaimlerChrysler

AG, saw sales fall 5.8 percent to 173,361. Car sales dropped 24 percent; truck sales were flat compared with last November.

GM, whose zero percent financing plan ignited the incentive wars Sept. 20, saw November sales rise 12.9 percent to 356,752 units. GM's popular lineup of SUVs helped boost light-truck sales 36 percent. Cars were down nearly 11 percent, hampered by a severe industry-wide drop in rental fleet sales.

Ford sales jumped 4.9 percent compared with last November, to 298,791. Ford cars were

up 1.8 percent, with light trucks up 6.5 percent.

Toyota Motor Corp. sold 138,183 units, up 9.7 percent for a record November. Toyota sales are up 7.5 percent for the year, as the Japanese automaker continues to gain market share and threatens to challenge Chrysler as the No. 3 automaker in U.S. sales.

Ford's Jaguar set a single-month U.S. sales record, with its all-new X-Type sedan responsible for nearly half the division's 5,016 sales. Land Rover's 2,634 sales also set a monthly record.

South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. marked its 10th consecutive record sales month at 27,299 units, up 53 percent.

Nissan Motor Co. sales rose 4.8 percent to 50,123. Mitsubishi reported its best sales month in history, with 33,060 units and a 27-percent increase. U.S. sales for Honda Motor Co. were up 11.5 percent from November

2000, a record for the month.

German automaker Volkswagen AG reported its

best November sales in 28 years with a 3.2-percent increase over November 2000.

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