Auto sales were released today by Autodata, and excluding the artificially high "cash for clunker" month of August 2009, light vehicles sales in November were the strongest in any month since June 2008, almost two and-a-half years ago (see chart above). On a seasonally adjusted annual rate, 13.63 million cars were sold last month, which was an 11% gain from the same month last year and almost a 3% improvement from October.
Sales gains for November were led by Chrysler, which experienced a 44.5% increase over last year, followed by strong gains from Kia (39.1%), Volkswagen (28.7%), Mazda (20.4%) and Nissan (19.4%). Many of the luxury brands reported strong annual sales gains in November including Mercedes (46.2%), Land Rover (30.7%) and BMW (14.8%).
Bottom Line: With another strong month for U.S. vehicle sales that are now at the highest level in almost two and-a-half years, the case for a fragile economy about to enter a double-dip recession seems pretty weak.