* NOW UPDATED with the Top 367 models, Top 38 brands and Top 15 groups *
U.S. light vehicle sales have settled into a very dynamic groove, up another 6% year-on-year both in October to 1.28 million units and year-to-date at 13.72 million units. Crossovers and pickup trucks fuelled much of the market increase, lifting the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) to 16.5 million units, up from 15.4 million a year ago. The SAAR has now topped 16 million every month since March, peaking at 17.5 million last August, the highest since January 2006. Complete analysis will follow shortly. This is simply and impressively the strongest month of October in a decade in the US. Moreover, average incentives seem to have settled down to a more manageable 8% of average transaction prices after surging earlier in the year: up 2% year-on-year but down 12% on September to $2,629. Caldwell of Edmunds.com said through Automotive News “This sales pace will likely remain steady through the end of the year. With declining gas prices and strong truck and SUV sales, the industry is poised for a very busy holiday season.”
Leading the groups ranking, General Motors certainly didn’t help lift the market up however (+0.2%), with retail sales down 2%, fleet up 6% and Cadillac down 8%. Ford is down 2% (but Lincoln up 25% thanks to the MKC) while Toyota reclaims its #3 group spot at +7% with a 12th consecutive month of year-on-year gains for Lexus. The Fiat Chrysler Group shines brightly once again, marking an unbelievable 55 consecutive months of year-on-year increases, with Jeep up 52%, Ram up 36% and Chrysler up 17%. According to Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell, “Chrysler is on a streak of growth that’s virtually unheard of for American carmakers. The company’s renewed focus on SUVs comes at a perfect time when gas prices are plummeting and shoppers are falling back in love with large vehicles” as reported on Autonews.
The Honda brand sets a new October record at 105,745 units, lifted by the facelifted CR-V up 30% year-on-year to an historic 5th place and a new October record by the Fit up 83%. “The success of the new Fit is an important step in re-establishing small cars as a pillar in the Honda lineup,” Jeff Conrad, Honda Division general manager, said on Autonews. Similarly, the Nissan brand hit a new October record at 94,072 units (+15%), the 13th consecutive month it has set a new monthly record. Other brands setting October records this month include Kia up 12% to 44,694, Subaru up 25% to 43,012 (its 35th consecutive month of year-on-year gains) and Audi up 17% and lodging an incredible 46th consecutive month of record sales! Notice also Volkswagen ending 18 consecutive months of sales declines at +8% thanks to the new Jetta (#21) and 2015 Golf (up 81% to #88), Mitsubishi up 25%, Maserati up 105% and BMW up 11%.
Model-wise, the Ford F-Series holds up solidly at -1% to 63,410 sales, keeping in mind none of these are the new gen F-150 and that rebates on the outgoing model remain limited. On the other hand, other full sized pick-up trucks fare exceptionally well: the Chevrolet Silverado is up 10% to 46,966 units, along with the GMC Sierra up 18% making it the 3rd consecutive month GM full size pickups (65,530) outsell the F-Series. Boosted by the ecoDiesel variant I have been driving across the country, the Ram Pickup delivers once again the most impressive increase in the segment, up 33% to remain in third place while all-new Chevy Colorado (1,491 sales) and GMC Canyon (667) see their return in the ranking slowed by an early recall.
The Toyota Camry reclaims the passenger car crown after two months of Honda Accord domination at 33,164 units (+14%) vs. 27,128 (+8%) for the Accord while the Corolla is back above the Civc at #7, the Chevy Cruze is up an impressive 51% to #9, the Nissan Sentra up 56%, Subaru Outback up 55%, Chrysler 200 up 40% and Kia Soul up 30%. I have spoken about this model a lot lately but the fact is it keeps improving month after month: in October the Jeep Cherokee breaks into the US Top 20 for the first time for this generation at a record #17, also the brand’s best-seller above the Grand Cherokee (#19) and Wrangler (#23).
Further down, some recent newcomers continue to sparkle while others dampen off already: the Acura TLX is up 26% and 13 spots on September to #76 and 4,890 sales, the Ford Transit is up 84% and 33 ranks to #128 and 2,257 units, the Lincoln MKC up 25% and 10 spots to #129 and 2,197 sales, the Mercedes GLA up 103% and 38 ranks to #136, the BMW i3 up 13% to #169, Porsche Macan up 6% at #190, BMW i8 up 252% to #23 and Cadillac ELR up 37% to #242. Reversely, the Audi A3 is up just 1% to 2,380 units, the Audi Q3 down 38% and BMW X4 down 6%.
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Full October 2014 Top 367 models, Top 38 brands, Top 15 groups Ranking Tables below.