DETROIT – Although November U.S. auto sales were up from a dismal showing in October, industry analysts were still expecting the fall selling season to be down in 2005 compared to the previous year despite marketing efforts and special promotions offered by the Big 3 auto manufacturers. In mid-November after the Detroit carmakers discontinued their highly successful employee discount pricing plans, Ford Motor launched its year-end “Keep It Simple” clearance program offering more than $6,000 cash back on certain large SUVs. A few days before that, General Motors said it was offering as much as $10,000 off some vehicles as part of its “Red Tag” sale. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), in October the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales was 14.7 million vehicles, the lowest total since 1998.

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