Though the weather for many is getting pretty chilly, November’s auto sales remained hot for a couple of unique reasons. The Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday weekend prove to be a catalyst for automakers every year, but this year, a dramatic plunge in oil prices has brought out buyers who were originally hesitant to splurge on a larger vehicle by removing the barrier that was high fuel costs.
Compact cars gained 7.6% in November, according to Cars.com, while subcompacts actually fell by more than 7%. Three-row crossovers (Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, and so on) and big SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition “both… saw solid single-digit gains overall.”
“Compact SUVs tacked on more than 20% in year-over-year sales,” Cars.com explained in it’s Kicking Tires blog. “That’s despite most of the segment’s major players having similar cash incentives compared to a year ago.” Though all of the cars on last month’s best-sellers list have been here before, and regularly too, there are a few surprises lurking in November’s lineup. Check it out after the jump.
10. Chevrolet Cruze
A light touch-up allowed Chevrolet’s Cruze compact to poke its head into the top 10, selling 22,857 units in November, good for a 25.6% spike over the November of the year prior. This has helped push the Cruze to 255,260 units moved for the year, an 11% gain over the first 11 months versus the same period of 2013.
9. Honda Civic
Honda’s beloved Civic had a bit of a rough month last month. Sales slumped 12.3% versus November of 2013, as buyers flocked toward compact crossovers in place of compact sedans. This leaves the Civic 2.1% down for the year, at 300,644 units sold, despite the light refresh that it saw for the 2014 model year.
8. Honda Accord
Though usually a stalwart on the showroom floor, the Honda Accord slid in November as buyers — perhaps using the cheaper gas as an excuse — flocked to pickups, crossovers, and SUVs. Honda sold 25,275 Accords during the month, a 6.7% slide versus November sales a year ago. This leaves the popular sedan up 6.7% for the year to date, having sold 356,785 units in total.
7. Ford Escape
Ford’s Escape continues to plod on, posting a 21.6% gain for November sales over the same month a year prior, to 25,528 SUVs moved off the lots. This leaves the popular ute up 3.3% on the year so far, at 280,609. This is made more impressive by the fact that the Escape is up against some seriously updated competition, like the CR-V, and the Escape is beginning to show its age while Ford focuses its efforts on other aspects of its lineup.
6. Toyota Corolla
Keeping up its momentum through Thanksgiving was the Toyota Corolla, moving 25,609 units in the 30-day period, up 14.2% versus November a year ago. Lower gas prices haven’t seemed to affect the compact sedan too much, as sales are up 10.6% for the year to 309,373 through the 11 months of 2014 so far.
5. Toyota Camry
With its fresh, bolder face, Toyota is counting on the redesigned Camry to renew sales of its flagship sedan in light of more intense, sportier, and aggressive competition from all sides. New in dealerships, it appears that Toyota’s going to need more time for the Camry to gain traction; sales for November were down 5.1% from the same period last year, leaving its year-to-date sales at 396,988, or up 4.9% — and marginally ahead of the Ram pickup.
4. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V illustrates how small actions can amount to massive reactions. The CR-V, freshly revised (albeit rather lightly) for 2015, saw its sales soar by 37.7% to 32,378 units for November, bringing its year-to-date total sales to 302,650 since January, up an even 10%. The CR-V was able to help offset the weakness in Accord and Civic sales, and was even able to displace the Toyota Camry for the leading non-pickup space.
3. Ram Pickup
The Ram Pickup line rounds out the top three with sales of 35,865 for November, a leap in sales of 21% over the year prior. The Ram has been a growth driver for Fiat-Chrysler, which has been able to cash in on the pickup and SUV boom perhaps better than anyone else due to its utility-heavy lineup across its brands. For the year, Ram’s sales of the 1500 is up 22.7%, to 395,567 trucks.
2. Chevrolet Silverado
Sales of Chevy’s Silverado remained strong through November, posting numbers of 42,799 for the month — up a stunning 24.5% versus sales of November a year ago. Though that still trails the F-Series by a wide margin, it’s narrower than usual, and once sales of the GMC Sierra are accounted for, the combined units actually surpass the F-Series, illustrating how narrow the Ford’s lead has become (the Sierra sold about 23,000 units last month). Year-to-date, sales are up 7.8% to 471,918 units.
1. Ford F-Series
This is a rather turbulent time for the Ford F-Series, specifically the F-150. Ford is in the middle of a transition between the 2014 model and the heavily redesigned 2015 model, which employs aluminum alloys in place of steel. This is a double-edged sword; Ford is likely laying on the incentives for the older trucks, but is cranking out the new models as fast as possible. As a result, Ford sold 59,049 trucks, enough to lead the pack, despite it being a 9.9% dip over November of last year. So far this year, Ford’s F-Series sales are 1.4%, at 679,496 units moved.