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Auto industry puts up strong sales numbers in November

December 1, 2011 |  7:22 am

Photo: A 2012 Chevrolet Cruze on the lot at a car dealership in San Jose. Credit: Associated Press Shoppers streamed into car dealers in November, pushing auto sales to their highest annualized rate since the federal government's "cash for clunkers" program in August 2009.

By most estimates the annual sales rate was expected to hit about 13.5 million vehicles last month, modestly higher than in October and up about 10% from November 2010.

"The market is getting stronger.  Prices have eased from the spring and summer and people are seeing a lot of advertising out there," said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with auto information company Edmunds.com.

General Motors Co. said it sold 180,402 vehicles in the U.S. last month, up 6.9% from a year earlier.

“We are seeing a broad spectrum of customers return to the market,” said Don Johnson, GM's vice president of U.S. sales operations. “Truck sales showed a very solid increase, as we expected, but the momentum building behind our most fuel-efficient vehicles was even stronger.”

Chrysler Group said its sales rose 45% in November to 107,172 vehicles.

Volkswagen of America said sales of its VW brand jumped 40.7% in November to 28,412 vehicles. VW is benefiting from a retooling of its passenger car lineup over the last year, including new models of its Beetle, Passat and Jetta.   

This year is shaping up as VW’s best since 2002.

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— Jerry Hirsch

twitter.com/LATimesJerry

Photo: A 2012 Chevrolet Cruze on the lot at a car dealership in San Jose. Credit: Associated Press

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