Led by trucks and minivans, sales of U.S. vehicles rise 4.8%

DETROIT — DETROIT -- Sales of domestically built vehicles rose 4.8 percent in mid-November, led by a sharp increase in sales of pickup trucks, minivans and sport utility vehicles. But car sales remained sluggish.

The outcome of the presidential election does not seem to have motivated consumers, as was expected by many retail dealers.


"The slightest thing stops a deal from going through," said Scott Lawson, general manager of Island Chevrolet-Buick-Pontiac in Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Domestic light-truck sales rose 14.4 percent, to 116,171, while domestic car sales fell 1.3 percent, to 157,452.


Overall vehicle sales were 273,623 for the period of Nov. 11-20, compared with 260,968 last year.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of car sales was 5.8 million, up from 5.6 million in early November. Last year in the period, car sales were running at an annual rate of 5.9 million.

"November is clearly weaker than October," said Harvey Heinbach, automotive analyst for Merrill Lynch in New York.

"We're seeing one step forward, one step back. The recovery remains gradual."

The National Automobile Dealers Association called mid-November sales unimpressive.