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USA October 2020: Kia (+12.2%), Subaru (+10.6%) set new records, market growth thins to +1%

The Kia K5 sells a record 7.528 in the U.S. in October.

15/12 update: Now with monthly data for all Ford and Lincoln models.

The U.S. new light vehicle market is up an estimated 1% year-on-year in October to around 1.350.000 units according to Bloomberg, leading to a year-to-date tally down -16.7%% to roughly 11.754.000 sales. The monthly figure is below previous estimates from the likes of Wards Auto which tabled on 1.4 million sales. According to Motor Intelligence, the Seasonally Adjusted Annualised sales Rate (SAAR) is however down -3.1% year-on-year  to 16.38 million vs. 16.9 million in October 2020, also ending a five-month streak of gains since the market plummeted to just 8.7 million last April. The prospects for the rest of the year aren’t rosy, with low stocks, high unemployment and a raging Covid-19 pandemic that has kept the U.S. as the worst-hit in the world and is bringing new restrictions amid record daily cases reaching over 200.000 in late November.

According to J.D. Power, the combination of low inventory and high demand is bringing incentives down. Indeed J.D. Power estimates the average incentive in October to be down $425 year-on-year to $3.678 per vehicle, while ALG estimates October incentives at $3.869 per vehicle, up 2.6% from October 2019 but down -5.2% year-on-year. General Motors ($5.254), Daimler ($5.187), BMW ($5.049), FCA ($4.875) and Nissan ($4.487) are spending the most on incentives this month while Subaru ($1.781), Honda ($2.663), Hyundai ($2.682) and Kia ($2.863) showing more restraint. According to ALG, the average transaction price is up 3.1% or $1.123 year-on-year to $37.018. J.D. Power says fleet deliveries slump -44% to 128.500, accounting for just 10% of all vehicle sales vs. 17% in October 2019.

Among groups that still share monthly sales data, Toyota Motor gains 8.8% to set up a new October volume record at 205.349, with light truck deliveries up 14% while cars are down slightly at -0.4%. Hyundai-Kia is up 5.1% and American Honda down -3.4%. According to Automotive News, Ford Motor sales – who doesn’t share monthly data anymore – are off -6.1%, with the Ford brand down -6.5% but Lincoln up 2.8%. Ford Motor car sales crumble -45%, pickup sales are down -6.9% and SUV up 9.4%. Ford’s main nameplate sales (F-Series, Explorer, Escape and Ranger) sales are also available in our data section below.

Brand-wise, Toyota (+7.9%) is strong while Honda (-3.7%) isn’t, Subaru (+10.6%) sets a new October record at 61.411 units, Hyundai edges up 0.5% with retail sales up 10% to 52.117 but fleet sales down -45%. Thanks to a 23% year-on-year jump, crossovers make up 68% of Hyundai’s U.S October sales. Kia is up 12.2% to a new October record at 56.094 units, Lexus is up 15.3% with all its light trucks displaying double-digit gains, Mazda is up 16.5%, its second straight month of double-digit gains, thanks to light trucks up 24%. Finally Volvo (+21.4%) is up for the fifth consecutive month and records its largest gain of the year.

Over in the models charts, the Ford F-Series is down -4%, while the Toyota RAV4 (+8.6%), Camry (+11.5%), Tacoma (+20.5%) and Highlander (+18.1%) as well as the Ford Explorer (+20%) all post very significant gains this month. Below, the Subaru Outback (+45.6%), Hyundai Sonata (+24.9%), Toyota Tundra (+23.7%), Subaru Crosstrek (+23.5%), Honda Pilot (+22.1%) and Kia Forte (+16.1%) also perform very strongly. Among volume record-breakers we have the Kia Telluride (+59.5%) at 9.687, the Kia K5 at 7.528 and the new Toyota Venza at 3.510.

Previous month: USA September 2020: Lexus (+31.3%), Mazda (+28.7%), Kia (+24.4%), calendar quirks help return market to positive (+5.6%)

One year ago: USA October 2019: Hyundai-Kia (+11%), Honda (+8.2%) shine in market down -1.6%, on track for 17m year

Full October 2020 sales for selected 6 groups, 10 brands and 118 models below.

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