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Black Friday pushes November sales for Ford, other carmakers

December 1, 2011 |  9:21 am

Small cars such as the Focus and Fiesta contributed to Ford's November auto sales.

Watches, video games, cashmere -- add automobiles to the list of goods selling briskly in the days following Thanksgiving. It seems car buyers caught Black Friday fever this year.

Galpin Ford, the nation’s largest Ford dealership, sold 140 new vehicles on the Friday after Thanksgiving, a single-day sales record for the San Fernando Valley franchise.

“It was surprising for all of us,” said Beau Boeckmann, Galpin’s vice president. “I don’t think we expected that November would be the biggest car month since 'cash for clunkers' two years ago. Our November sales will be 50% above last year.”

Dealers such as Galpin contributed to a 13.3% gain in Ford's November auto sales. The automaker sold 166,865 vehicles, compared with 147,338 in November 2010.

Other automakers also reported gains in November. Altogether, the industry sold vehicles at an annual sales pace of about 13.5 million vehicles, the highest level since the cash for clunkers stimulus program of August 2009.

Nissan said its sales increased 19.4% in November to 85,182 vehicles.

General Motors said its November sales rose 6.9% from the same month a year earlier to 180,402 vehicles. Chrysler Group said its sales rose 45% to 107,172 vehicles. Volkswagen of America said sales of its VW brand jumped 40.7% to 28,412 vehicles.

Automakers said the strong finish contributed to the sales gains.

“We were planning for a strong close for the month and expecting to see good traffic and it ran ahead of our expectations,” said Jonathan Browning, chief executive of Volkswagen of America. 

Browning said shoppers are enjoying low interest rates, strong resale value of their trade-ins and good lease deals.

“Certainly we saw a kick at the end of the month,” said Don Johnson, GM's vice president of U.S. sales operations.

Thanksgiving weekend has emerged as a popular car-shopping weekend since the recent recession, said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with auto information company Edmunds.com.

“It is a factor of the deal mentality out there,” Caldwell said. “With Black Friday everyone just assumes there is a deal for everything, whether it is a sweater or jewelry or a car.” 

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-- Jerry Hirsch

Twitter.com/LATimesJerry

Photo: Small cars such as the Focus and Fiesta, shown at the Maroone Ford of Miami dealership, contributed to Ford's strong November sales. Credit: Associated Press

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