Ralston McDonald works on a Sonata sedan at Hyundai's Montgomery factory. (The Birmingham News file/Beverly Taylor)
Automakers are set to announce their U.S. sales for November today. Here are some of the issues that might dominate the headlines:
1) A slip for Hyundai?: Some people have questioned whether the exaggerated mileage claims by Hyundai and its sister company, Kia -- which were revealed in early November -- hurt the automakers' sales performance last month.
Hyundai's Alabama-made Elantra was among the models cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for overstated fuel economy ratings. Hyundai and Kia have been correcting the ratings and offering a reimbursement program for buyers, but it remains to be seen how their efforts have been received in the market.
Last week, Hyundai Motor America Chief Executive John Krafcik said the issue has not hurt sales.
2) Bouncing back: Overall U.S. auto sales could hit their strongest pace in more than four years, as drivers who lost vehicles in Superstorm Sandy have been driven back into the market. The storm hurt demand in late October.
Pent-up demand also fueled sales.
Analysts expect sales growth of 11 percent to 13 percent.
3) Made in Alabama: As a group, state-made vehicles didn't fare well in October. Combined sales of the eight models assembled in Alabama fell 8.6 percent.
Will they redeem themselves in November?
4) Mercedes' short supply: Mercedes-Benz dealers say the M-Class and GL-Class, two luxury SUVs built at the German automaker's Tuscaloosa County factory, are in short supply.
Increased worldwide demand has created the tight inventories. Slim pickings sometimes affect sales, if buyers can't find the color or features they want.
With a new third shift, the Alabama plant is essentially operating around the clock to meet demand, except for Sundays.
5) The economy and the holidays: Auto sales are seen as a sign of consumer sentiment, a key measure of the economy. And in the middle of the holiday season, it's a crucial time for retailers.