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October Auto Sales Revive after U.S. Government Shutdown

October Auto Sales Revive after U.S. Government Shutdown

By Philly Murtha, November 04, 2013
More than 1.2 million new vehicles were delivered in the U.S. market in October, which was up 6.4% from October 2012 when adjusted for one fewer selling day than in the same month a year ago (October 2013 had 27 selling days, while October 2012 had 26). Without the adjustment, new-vehicle deliveries rose 10% from October 2012.

Nearly all automakers sold more new cars and light trucks this past month than in October 2012 despite the 16-day U.S. government shutdown (October 1-16). Subaru, the independent Japanese brand that is part of Fuji Heavy Industries, said sales were up 32% and it already has sold as many vehicles in 10 months as it did in the full 12 months of 2012. The Forester was the brand's best-seller in October.

Among the 12 automakers with multiple brands, only Volkswagen Group posted a decline in sales from a year ago. On an unadjusted basis, sales fell 9% because Audi and Porsche gains could not offset the VW brand's decline of 18%.

The highest-performing automakers in October were: Daimler Group (+22%) with its Mercedes-Benz brand (+25%) followed by General Motors (+16%) with all nameplates posting sales increases. Ford Motor Co. (+14%) and Nissan Group (+14%) tied for third-place sales gain honors.

Japanese major automakers Toyota Group (+9%) and Honda Group (+7%) also sold more new vehicles in October than a year ago, although both reported declines for some of their best-selling models. Toyota's Camry, Prius and Scion line sold fewer vehicles this year, while the Honda Accord also posted lower deliveries this year.

South Korea's Hyundai Group had mixed results. Its Hyundai brand set an October record with sales up 7% from a year ago, while Kia posted a 14% decline.

At the segment level, sales of large pickups, midsize sedans, and compact crossovers were particularly strong. Ford sold as many as 60,000 large pickups in October, according to a company statement, while sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra climbed 11%. Ram pickup truck sales climbed 22% (unadjusted) and Toyota Tundra also posted a 22% sales gain.

In the midsize conventional category, Ford Fusion sales were up 71% from a year ago and Chevrolet Malibu deliveries climbed by nearly two-thirds. Also, compact CUVs continued to thrive. Ford Escape sales were up 12%, while segment leader Honda CR-V posted a record month and near 12% gain. Toyota saw its redesigned RAV4 sales surge 55%.

There was sales momentum for the premium brands in October. Most posted strong results with Mercedes-Benz leading, followed by BMW and Lexus. Even Lincoln, which has had several months of declines, posted a 38% increase with a boost from the new MKZ. Only Volvo suffered a dip of 7% from last year.
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