Car sales in the U.S. rose to the highest level in two years in November. And the U.S. car giants continue to recover as well.
U.S. car sales hit an annualized 13.6 million in November, which is the highest level since the "cash-for-clunkers" boom in August 2009. This number is still a far cry from the 16-17 million cars per year that were sold in the country prior to the Great Recession, but it's a healthy jump from the 10-11 million trough in the years that followed.
Just as encouraging, says Bill Holstein, author of The Next American Economy and Why GM Matters, the average age of cars in America is now over 10 years, as compared to 6 or so years at the peak of the economic boom. This suggests that Americans will have to continue to buy new cars to replace the ones they have, which bodes well for future car sales.
Chrysler, Ford, and Nissan reported the strongest gains in November. Holstein is surprised by Chrysler in particular, which he thought would suffer from its merger with Fiat. Chrysler's sales, Holstein says, are being powered by the resurgent Jeep division, which saw sales leap an extraordinary 50% year over year. This explains why you see so many shiny new Jeeps all over the place.