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Thanksgiving sales were a feast for car dealers

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Consumers literally gobbled up car sales over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend sending November’s overall rate at 16.4 million vehicles bought according to a report by Autodata Corp. This is a 9% raise over last year and ”contributed to the best sales pace of the year,” stated Toyota’s division group president and general manager Bill Fay, who also noted that his company’s individual sales posted a 10% gain over 2012.

In the meantime, Kurt McNeil, chief of GM’s US sales division attributed the automaker’s 14% stronger sales to an improved economy here, more available credit and falling gas prices.

Still, while GM saw American consumers “eat up” its deals, sales in Japan seem to be “from hunger,” with only a bit more than 1,000 Cadillac and Chevy models driven off lots there. While part of the problem may be a preconceived idea against “American gas-guzzlers,” another obstacle seems to be the fact that Japanese drivers are uncomfortable with the steering wheels being on the left. As a result, GM is not beginning to offer models with the steering wheel on the right, which is standard there.

"We have just begun our fight," declared GM Japan Managing Director Sumito Ishii “We are here for the long-haul and are offering consumers here a lot more attractive qualities that you can't find in Japanese and European cars."

In the meantime, Japanese automaker Nissan saw its American sales climb by 11% last month, while Honda’s dipped slightly by 1%.

Other automakers posting gains during November were Chrysler, up 16%, Ford 7%, followed by Hyundai with 5% more sales. In fact, the only big loser in last month’s market share was VW, which reported a 16% decrease in its sales.

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