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November sales to be a squeaker?

by Bill Cawthon on

FCA US’ November sales could be a close call, according to one analyst, calling into question the company’s ability to hit 68th consecutive months of growth.

KBB’s Tim Fleming predicted that FCA US would sell 171,000 cars and trucks this month, just 161 more than the company sold in November 2014. Fleming wrote that sales will increase by just 0.1%, and market share will be essentially flat.


Jessica Caldwell, the lead analyst for Edmunds, gave FCA a bit more breathing room with a 5,800-unit margin and a tiny bump up to 13.3% in share.

Eric Lyman of TrueCar was the most optimistic, predicting over 179,000 sales, a nice 4.8% increase but just a 13.2% piece of the pie as his crystal ball shows much more growth in total industry sales.

Another difference between the three analysts is whether this will be Chrysler’s best November since 2001 or since 2000, when then-DaimlerChrysler racked up 184,065 sales in the Maxwell-Chrysler-FCA US all-time best year for U.S. sales. [That was Chrysler’s best year; the best November was in 1999, with 194,716 deliveries.]


Beating the numbers is becoming costly as the market is shrinking, despite economic growth and car loan terms that are starting to look like mortgages.

To keep factories running, incentive spending is rising almost across the board. TrueCar estimated that the average indudstry-wide incentive per vehicle will pass the $3,000 mark in November — and that FCA US is spending an average of $3,573 on every car and truck sold. That’s 12.6% higher than November 2014 and slightly higher than October 2015.

Unlike most months, where either FCA or GM is the big spender, FCA is actually spending less than Volkswagen Group, which is offering extremely low-cost leases to move the metal as more evidence of cheating is uncovered. FCA is also nearly $200/vehicle behind General Motors and even a few bucks behind Nissan.

The biggest spenders are BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which are duking it out to see which one will take the luxury crown this year. Both BMW and Mercedes are spending more than $4,600 per vehicle.

The table below is an average of the forecasts from Edmunds, KBB and TrueCar.

 Average Proj. Sales Volume Proj. Market Share
Maker Nov 15 Nov 14 Change Nov 15 Nov 14 Change
FCA US 175,582 170,839 +2.8% 13.22% 13.16% +0.06%
Ford 191,075 186,334 +2.5% 14.39% 14.35% +0.04%
General Motors 233,212 225,818 +3.3% 17.56% 17.39% +0.17%
Honda 119,997 121,814 -1.5% 9.04% 9.38% -0.35%
Hyundai/Kia 100,819 98,608 +2.2% 7.59% 7.59% -0.00%
Nissan 105,581 103,188 +2.3% 7.95% 7.95% +0.00%
Toyota 188,114 183,346 +2.6% 14.17% 14.12% +0.05%
Volkswagen (Audi) 47,828 53,064 -9.9% 3.60% 4.09% -0.49%
Industry 1,327,972 1,298,479 +2.3%


Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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