Advertising Push Helps Last Month's Car Sales

November was a better than expected sales month for the auto industry. Carmakers saw their sales go up nearly 9 percent over last year, and the increase had a lot to do with advertising.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We'll start NPR's business news starts with a spike in auto sales.

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GREENE: The month November, better than expected for the auto industry. Carmakers saw their sales go up nearly nine percent over last year.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports that this had a lot to do with advertising.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: As retailers like Wal-Mart and Target and Best Buy were trotting out deals for Black Friday, this year car companies got in on the act as well.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: There's a more civilized way to do Black Friday. During the Buick Black Friday sales event...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Toyota's Black Friday event ends December 2nd.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: For a limited time, get up to $1,500 with a Ford Black Friday...

GLINTON: The attention paid off. Toyota for instance, did a quarter of its sales on Black Friday and the following Saturday.

Michelle Krebs of Edmunds.com says the car sales gimmicks paid off.

MICHELLE KREBS: They weren't necessarily fabulous deals. There weren't huge discounts. Because we saw incentives, pretty much stable. There were some good deals out there, but it was more about the promotion and around the advertising.

GLINTON: Chrysler was up 16 percent. Ford was up seven percent. And General Motors was up 14 percent.

Meanwhile Krebs says the Detroit carmakers - especially GM and Ford - are more disciplined these days. In years passed, they would have had to have big year-end discounts to sell off inventory.

KREBS: They aren't doing that anymore. They're keeping production in line with demand. They are working very hard to improve the profit per vehicle. And that's not something we've, in Detroit, have paid much attention to in the past.

GLINTON: You can expect big profits but not necessarily big discounts as the industry heads into the holidays, one of its most important sales periods.

Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

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