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If you're planning to give the ol' credit card a workout today, you're not alone. Most analysts are predicting brisk Black Friday sales at shopping malls, big-box stores, and even on the auto lots.
Kelley Blue Book, for example, expects that transactions today and through the holiday weekend will boost November's sales stats almost four percent above October. If that comes to pass, U.S. dealers could move 1.19 million vehicles -- a 3.6 percent improvement over November of 2012.
That in itself is no small feat. Auto sales last November were exceptionally strong -- a bittersweet side-effect of Hurricane Sandy, which sent motorists across the Northeast trudging to dealerships to replace their storm-damaged vehicles.
KBB expects today's big winners to be trucks and compact crossovers, which have shown huge growth in 2013. The truck boom is largely tied to the improving construction sector, while crossovers provide efficient transportation options for families and businesses, both large and small. KBB predicts November truck sales will improve 8.1 percent over November 2012, while compact crossovers should be up a whopping 23.6 percent.
General Motors is poised to be at the top of today's heap. That's due in part to its many new and redesigned models, including the Chevrolet Silverado.
Also helping GM: discounts and other perks. Until Monday, GM is offering customers extremely low prices and cash-back deals on a range of vehicles, and via its various websites, GM promises to dispense with the traditional haggling. KBB expects GM's November numbers to ring in 12.1 percent above November 2012.
Not to be outdone, Ford is also offering buyers cash this weekend -- in the form of a prepaid Master Card. Shoppers can either use the cards to help pay for a new vehicle, or they can pocket the cards and use them after leaving the dealership. Ford's sales could hit 6.2 percent above November of last year.
Faring less well: Volkswagen, which KBB expects to finish nearly 10 percent below November 2012. Though KBB analysts don't offer any suggestions for the dip, VW clearly doesn't compete well in the compact crossover market, and it offers nothing in the way of pickup trucks. VW's bread and butter comes in the form of midsize and smaller vehicles, which will likely ring in flat or below 2012 numbers.
Be careful on the roads this holiday weekend -- and if you come across any unusually good deals, be sure to share them with us.