Automakers report sales gains in November

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Car shoppers crowded showrooms in November, lured by an end-of-the-month advertising blitz and what automakers said was a pickup in consumer confidence.

Ford, GM, Honda and Nissan posted sales gains of 21% or more compared with a year earlier, signs that the economy was once again stirring, according to automotive executives.

“The consumer is crawling back,” Brian Johnson, an auto industry analyst at Barclays Capital, said in a report to investors.

And that’s good news for the automakers, who are also starting to hire again. Just this week General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group announced they were each looking to hire about 1,000 engineers and other technical personnel. The automakers closed factories and slashed tens of thousands of jobs amid the downturn last year.

“We’re seeing some stability and consistency in the marketplace for the first time since the economic downturn,” said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst.

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