Black Friday allows some shoppers to line up in the wee hours for doorbuster deals on laptops and TVs, but the day after Thanksgiving could mean huge profits for automakers this year, too. Multiple industry analysts predict record growth for the industry for November, and the upcoming incentives could help those numbers.

TrueCar predicts that Black Friday incentives could provide a major boost, and it estimates a November sales jump of 3.9 percent from last year to a record for the month at over 1.35 million vehicles. As examples of potential deals, Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC plan to offer up to 20 percent off some models, and FCA US has no-interest financing for up to 75 months from its brands. "Consumers are excited about Black Friday promotions and these month-long events appear to be resonating with car buyers." Eric Lyman, TrueCar's vice president of industry insights, said in the report.

Black Friday only recently became a big day for auto sales, according to an analysis from Edmunds. Last year, Thanksgiving weekend posted double the sales as any other weekend in the month. The company predicts a sales volume of over 1.33 million vehicles for November. If that happens, it would be the beat the previous record of 1.32 million sales for the same month in 2001.

Some forecasts temper the gains for November but only slightly. Kelley Blue Book predicts flat year-over-year sales at 1.3 million vehicles, but that's largely because there are two fewer sales days in 2015 versus in 2014. "Black Friday deals on vehicles have grown in popularity in recent years, and should be a big contributor to this month's sales results," said analyst Tim Fleming in the study.

The combined research from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive have the lowest November prediction among this group at just over 1.279 million sales for the month versus 1.299 million in 2014. However, once the researchers adjust the figures for the two fewer selling days, 2015 could actually be seven percent higher than last year.

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TrueCar Finds New Auto Sales in November to Reach Monthly Record

Black Friday promotions bolster sales gains; industrywide incentives up 6% from last year

November 24, 2015 12:11 PM Eastern Standard Time
SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TrueCar, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRUE) projects total new vehicle sales, including fleet deliveries, will reach 1,352,500 units in November, a 3.9 percent increase from a year ago and the highest ever for the month.

The expected growth will push the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for total light vehicle sales to 18.6 million units, the strongest pace of any month so far this year and up from a 17.1 million-unit SAAR a year ago. Solid consumer demand coupled with Black Friday campaigns may boost retail sales by 3 percent to 1,157,800 units.

"This continues to be a standout year for the industry, with November sales likely setting a monthly record," said Eric Lyman, TrueCar's vice president of industry insights. "Consumers are excited about Black Friday promotions and these month-long events appear to be resonating with car buyers. Brands that advertised early, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Jeep and Ram, are expected to outperform the industry."

General Motors is currently running a Black Friday promotion for its Buick, Chevrolet and GMC brands, promoting savings of as much as 20 percent off MSRP. FCA's Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands are all running Black Friday promotions advertising no-interest financing for up to 75 months. Hyundai is also participating in the early Black Friday promotions with customer cash offers.

Hyundai may lead the charge in year-over-year sales gains with a 6.2 percent rise in volume, resulting in a best ever November for the brand. GM will likely follow with a 5.7 percent increase in sales. Ford and Toyota tie for third place, with both manufacturers expecting a 4.2 percent increase in sales.

Non-luxury volume will likely expand by 3.6 percent versus last year. Luxury cars and truck sales may grow by 5.2 percent compared to a year ago. Compact crossover vehicles remain very popular this month and will be among the industry's biggest segments by volume.

"Automakers are striking while current economic fundamentals are favorable. With unchanged interest rates, low unemployment and consumer-friendly gas prices, manufacturers are willing to spend slightly more to reap large rewards," said Stacey Doyle, TrueCar's senior industry analyst.

Incentive spending by automakers averaged $3,066 per vehicle in November, up 6 percent from a year ago and down 1.1 percent from October 2015.

"This year incentive spending as a percentage of average MSRP is lower than what we saw from 2003 through 2006," said Doyle. "During that period, higher incentive spending was used to artificially boost sales levels to keep the industry close to 17 million units. Overall, most automakers are showing restraint and not falling back into bad habits."

Interest rates remain unchanged and overall U.S. economic conditions are still strong. The unemployment report in October was 5 percent, the lowest for the month in eight years. Gasoline prices also remain favorable, falling to a national average of $2.07 per gallon on November 23 from $2.82 a year earlier. However, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index® declined by 5 points in October from a month earlier to 97.6.

Other key findings for November:

Expected registration mix of 85.6 percent retail sales and 14.4 percent fleet versus 86.3 percent retail and 13.7 percent fleet last November.

Total used auto sales, including franchise and independent dealerships and private-party transactions, may exceed 2,704,873, up 1 percent compared to November 2014.

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