Buyers of new cars and trucks are enjoying continued low interest rates and gasoline prices at a five-year low, which is spurring sales of profitable, larger vehicles.

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DETROIT — Consumers are buying new cars at a pace not seen since before the recession.

You have to rewind the clock to 2006 to see the kind of November results that many automakers reported Tuesday, amid forecasts the month’s sales pace could exceed 17 million for only the second time since 2006, even though there was one less selling day in the month.

The industry hit 17.5 million in August.

Low gasoline prices and interest rates have kept sales of large trucks and utility vehicles strong. Such vehicles are among the industry’s most profitable.

Consumers are enjoying continued low interest rates, and gasoline prices are at a five-year low, which is spurring sales of profitable larger vehicles.

“By any measure, households are reaping significant disposable-income gains each week at current gas prices,” said Ford economist Emily Kolinski Morris. “With U.S. gasoline consumption of over 360 million gallons a day, that represents a total savings of about $180 million per day now versus September.”

“The buzz around Black Friday helped drive strong showroom traffic but there was a lot more at work in the market,” said Kurt McNeil, head of GM’s sales operations.

“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,” McNeil said. “All of this helped deliver an exceptional month and it will keep auto sales at very healthy levels going forward.”

Among the big gainers: Chrysler continues its 56-month sales run with an increase of 20 percent while its crosstown rivals were more modest. General Motors’ U.S. sales of 225,818 vehicles last month were up 6 percent and Ford, which is in the midst of a record number of launches and cutting back on daily rental fleet sales to save its inventory for retail customers, saw sales fall 2 percent.

Honda has reported a November sales record of 121,814 vehicles, up 5 percent from a year ago, while Toyota and Volkswagen were both up 3 percent. Hyundai was down 4 percent from a record November in 2013.

It was GM’s best November sales in seven years.

GM said demand in November was robust for everything from smaller cars and crossovers to big trucks, The Buick brand had its best November since 2003; GMC sales were the highest for November since 2001.

The Silverado had its best November since 2006, up 57 percent while Ford F-series sales were down 10 percent.

Ford reported total sales of 870,000 and consciously reduced its fleet sales, said John Felice, head of U.S. marketing, sales and service, although cars are more affected by cutbacks to daily rental fleets.

Meanwhile, Chrysler continues to surprise the industry with its strong results. Sales of the Chrysler 200 sedan, Ram pickups and the Jeep brand led the way for the Auburn Hills automaker.

Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at, said sales of cars and trucks increasingly follow seasonal trends that are similar to the broader retail industry.

“In recent years both car shoppers and car dealers have turned toward Black Friday as an opportunity to dive into the holiday shopping season,” Caldwell said.

“Clever advertising from a handful of automakers planted the seed in shoppers’ minds that rather in standing in Black Friday lines at retail stores to save tens of dollars, they could instead pocket hundreds and even thousands by taking advantage of deals on cars,” said analyst Jeremy Acevedo. “This message seems to have resonated, particularly for GM’s Buick and GMC brands that offered 20 percent off sticker prices for all models.”