Sales of domestic cars plunged in the closing days of November, causing sales for the month to finish only 1.7 percent ahead of those of a year earlier, according to company reports yesterday.
Chrysler Corp. posted the strongest year-to-year gain for November, with sales up 32.7 percent. Ford Motor Co. sales were up 14.5 percent. But the industry leader, General Motors Corp., had a decline in sales of 8.1 percent for the month and attributed it to the lingering effects of September and October strikes in the United States and Canada.
In the final industry reporting period of the month, Nov. 21-30, sales were off a dismal 14.2 percent from the comparable period a year ago. GM's sales in that period slid 22.9 percent.
U.S. car sales for the month came to 600,692, up 1.7 percent from 590,527 in November 1983. Sales by the 19 major importers -- 11 European and eight Japanese -- were 200,197, up 6 percent from 188,791 a year earlier.
That put combined U.S. sales of all cars at 800,889 for November, 2.8 percent better than 779,318 a year earlier.
For the Nov. 21-30 period, U.S. carmakers sold 186,721 autos, down 14.2 percent from 217,540 in the comparable period a year earlier. That produced a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.3 million, which was sluggish at best.
For the year through Nov. 30, U.S. car sales were running at an adjusted 18.1 percent ahead of last year at 7,390,851 vs. 6,235,878.