U.S. car sales surged last month in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, with No. 2 automaker Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) reporting domestic new car sales of 177,673, up 6 percent from a year ago, partly on the strength of the Dearborn-based company's fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles.
Retail sales at Ford-owned dealerships rose 12 percent last month compared to the previous year.
"The Black Friday sales period once again provided a strong boost," Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president of sales, said in a statement, referring to the day after Thanksgiving. "We were also very encouraged by the strong sales recovery experienced in those northeastern regions that were ravaged by Superstorm Sandy and expect continued momentum there for the balance of the year."
Car sales were up 15 percent while trucks rose 4 percent and utility vehicles gained 2 percent. Small car sales -- the Ford Focus, the Fiesta and the C-MAX Hybrids -- took the lead in sales gain, exhibiting the strongest November in 12 years. The hybrid line saw a 52 percent rise in sales from October.
The popular F-Series brand of full-sized pickup trucks saw its year-over-year rise for the 16th consecutive month to the best November since 2005 with 56,299 pickups sold, an 18 percent rise from last year.
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The company also announced it would build 750,000 vehicles the first quarter of 2013, an 11 percent rise from the same period this year.
The news lifted Ford shares by 12 cents to $11.57 in midday trading.
Earlier Monday, Chrysler Group LLC, a subsidiary of Italian company Fiat S.p.A. (Milan: F), reported a 14 percent rise in U.S. sales, the best November since 2007.