New vehicle sales in November are down from the same month in 2019. That suggests that the recovery seen since the market bottomed in April is coming to an end.

J.D. Power reports that new vehicle sales in the month of November were down 14.6% year-over-year. November had three fewer selling days in 2020 (23 in total) than last year, as well as one less weekend. Adjusting for those factors, J.D. Power estimates that November sales dropped only 3.5%.

Compared to November 2019, almost every major brands were down. Toyota saw its sales drop 1%, while Hyundai’s sales fell 9%. Mazda’s sales were down a whopping 10.8%. Ford, which only returned to releasing monthly sales figures in October, saw sales drop 20.9% in November compared to 2019.

There Was Some Good News

However, it wasn’t all bad news. Toyota’s trucks and SUVs showed sales strength in November, with the divisions seeing sales jump by 14.1% and 12.6%, respectively. Hyundai’s sales followed a similar trajectory as Toyota’s — the Korean automaker saw its sales climb 4% on a daily-selling-rate basis. Based solely on volume, the Kona, Palisade, and Sonata all had sales jump in November. The Kona’s sales grew by 43%, the Palisade’s by 22%, and the Sonata’s by 39%.

On the flipside, Ford’s trucks division experienced a 20.9% drop in sales, with F-150 sales falling 45.9%. The automaker faulted low inventories and the transition to the new F-150 as the reasons why sales fell. Ford SUV sales fell by 16.1%, but the Explorer’s sales grew by 21.9%. It’s a likely sign that Ford’s most popular SUV has recovered since its launch in early 2019.

Honda’s sales fell by 23.4% in November. However, on a daily selling rate basis, they fell by 13.4%. Honda’s trucks division showed more strength than the cars division, falling by 21% and 26.9%. Despite the shortened month, the Passport and Pilot showed only small declines, as well as the Acura MDX and ILX.

Although sales did fall in the month of November, automakers benefited from a year-over-year increase in the average transaction price of new vehicles. Average prices rose 1.3% compared to November 2019, according to an estimate from Kelley Blue Book. The largest price increases were seen among Fiat Chrysler and General Motors vehicles.


Devon is a writer, editor, and veteran of the online publishing world. He has a particular love for classic muscle cars.