Overall, Chrysler sold just over 142,000 vehicles last month for its best November in six years, up from nearly 123,000 a year ago. Sales of Jeeps rose 30 percent, and the brand had its best November ever.
Both GM and Chrysler reported their best November sales since 2007. GM sales rose to 212,060, up from 186,505.
GM was led by larger vehicles, with its top-selling Chevy Silverado pickup posting a 12 percent gain. The GMC Sierra pickup saw sales rise 23 percent. Large SUVs, like the Chevrolet Tahoe, also had big sales, with the Tahoe up 23 percent. Big cars also were up. The Chevy Impala posted a 20 percent gain, while the Cadillac XTS was up 42 percent.
The double-digit pickup gains were repeated at Ford and Chrysler. Sales of Ford’s F-Series, the best-selling vehicles in the U.S., rose 16 percent to 65,501. For Chrysler, sales of the Ram pickup increased by 22 percent.
With the success of the Cherokee, Chrysler took advantage of the dramatic shift in the market toward smaller SUVs.
The Cherokee’s sculpted look annoyed Jeep purists. But Schuster says the styling may have paid off. “It sends a signal that the Cherokee, which has been polarizing in the industry, may be appealing to consumers more than critics,” he said.
Chrysler delayed Cherokee shipments for several months while engineers tinkered with its new nine-speed automatic transmission to make it shift more smoothly. Dealers didn’t have a normal inventory until mid-November, the company said.
David Kelleher, owner of a Chrysler dealership in Glen Mills, Pa., outside Philadelphia, said his dealership sold 21 Cherokees last month. That helped the store reach its best November sales since Kelleher bought it eight years ago.
Ahead of the reports, industry analysts estimated that total U.S. sales rose 3.6 percent to 6.3 percent for November. That’s slower growth than earlier in the year, mainly because sales in November of 2012 were the best in nearly five years. Superstorm Sandy hit in October last year, delaying some East Coast sales until November.