Auto sales revved up on Black Friday

December 6, 2013 Updated Dec 6, 2013 at 9:29 PM EDT

By David Bertola, Buffalo Business First

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Auto sales revved up on Black Friday

December 6, 2013 Updated Dec 6, 2013 at 9:29 PM EDT

While Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving - is typically thought of as a day to bargain shop for low-cost home electronics, appliances or toys, area auto dealers say it's become a great day to buy a car.

Frank Downing Jr. of Towne Auto Group said that sales in November were the best in the company's history.

"Black Friday and that Saturday were particularly good," he said. "It was like a prime time summer day and then some. It's unbelievable how that's become a hot retail day in our industry."

West Herr Automotive Group marketing director Matt Lasher said that while lower-cost flat screen TVs or washers and dryers are often associated with the shopping frenzy that Black Friday has become, more car dealers are getting into the Black Friday market.

"And we want a piece of that," he said, adding that year over year, their November advertising has focused on Black Friday. This year, promotions lasted the last two weeks, of the month. Compared to last November, he said auto sales were up 20 percent and their website traffic was up 30 percent.

Lasher explained that the company built a fully integrated marketing campaign that included TV, radio, print and social media to promote the sales at 18 different locations.

"It's certainly the gamut of marketing tools, anything we could use," he said. "Black Friday has become one of the largest advertising pushes. There are a few sales events during the year, but this has become one of the largest."

Downing said that for November, Towne saw a 20 percent increase over last year's sales. Overall, Towne sold 85 new 40 used BMWs in Nov. Jeep sales, he said, were up 60 percent.

"It really was excellent, with BMW leading the way," he said. "Overall, it was a real solid month," he said.

In a Dec. 3 Los Angeles Times article Michelle Krebs, an analyst with auto information company Edmunds.com was quoted as saying, "The Thanksgiving weekend saw a lot of promotion by automakers, riding the Black Friday wave, and it seems to have paid off."

The article said that General Motors Co. reported that sales rose 14 percent in November to 212,060 vehicles, compared to a month earlier.

Other automakers reporting November U.S. sales increases included:

• Ford Motor Co. up 7 percent, to 190,449 vehicles.

• Toyota Motor Corp., up 10 percent to 178,044 vehicles.

• Chrysler Group, up 16 percent to 142,275 vehicles.

• Nissan, up 11 percent to 106,528 vehicles.

• Hyundai, up 5 percent to 56,005 vehicles.

Volkswagen Group of America said its November sales dropped 16 percent to 30,727.

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