Holiday and Black Friday promotions have the U.S. automotive industry driving into December with healthy sales.

Analysts expect new car and truck sales to top 1.27 million in November, up between 2 percent and 5 percent compared to a year ago — putting sales on pace to hit 16.5 million in 2014, up from 15.6 million in 2013.

“Black Friday has established itself as the start of the final epic selling season of the year, and this year that season has started earlier than ever,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar, in a statement.

Leading the pack in November was Chrysler Group LLC, with sales jumping 20 percent compared to a year ago; General Motors Co. increased 6.5 percent; Honda was up 4.6 percent; Volkswagen increased 3.2 percent; and Toyota Motor Corp. was up 3 percent. Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. reported decreases of 1.8 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

Chrysler sold 170,839 cars and trucks last month, up from sales in November 2013 of 142,275 vehicles. The company now has 56th consecutive monthly sales gains year-over-year.

The Chrysler, Jeep and Ram Truck brands led the automaker’s sales growth with double-digit sales gains, while the Dodge and Fiat brands increased about 1 percent each compared to a year ago. Driven by the new 200 midsize sedan, the Chrysler brand experienced its best November sales in 11 years.

“In total, we had 11 vehicles last month that set new sales records,” said Reid Bigland, Chrysler head of U.S. sales, in a statement. “Calendar year to date, Chrysler Group remains the fastest growing automaker in the country.”

Through November, Chrysler sold about 1.9 million cars and trucks, a 16 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2013.

Analysts expected Chrysler, as it has for most of 2014, to experience the most growth of any major manufacturer, followed by Honda Motor Co. and GM.

GM sold 225,818 vehicles last month, marking its best November since 2007. The Detroit automaker was led by its Buick and GMC brands, both up more than 20 percent compared to November 2013.

“The buzz around Black Friday helped drive strong showroom traffic but there was a lot more at work in the market,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations for GM, in a statement. “More people have jobs and job security, their wages are starting to increase, household wealth is growing and low pump prices look like they’re here to stay through 2015.”

Chevrolet, GM’s largest brand, experienced a small uptick of 3.2 percent, while its Cadillac brand continues to struggle, down 18.7 percent.

Ford also continues to struggle due to low inventory levels for both the new Mustang and F-150 pickup, two of its big sellers.

But inventory, officials said, is increasing. Ford sold nearly 9,000 Mustangs last month — its best November since 2006 — and last week recorded the first sale of its new aluminum F-150 in Texas.

Throughout the year, Ford has warned that the introduction of new products like the F-150 and Mustang would temper 2014 sales. John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service, said that although the first 2015 F-150 has been sold and plant production is ramping up, the transition could last into next year and he’s unclear when Ford could start to see sales gains.

“It’s tough to put an estimate,” he said. “For the next few months we’ll be working through the transitions.”

Ford’s Escape sales increased 21.6 percent to 25,528 over the same time last year as the popular compact SUV segment continues to draw customers. Explorer sales were the best in a decade, and its luxury Lincoln brand posted its best results in seven years thanks to the sale of more than 2,100 new MKC crossovers.

Ford sold 8,113 Lincoln vehicles last month, compared to 6,727 during the same month a year ago.

Other automakers are scheduled to release their November sales later Tuesday.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

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