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USA October 2021: Ford (-3.3%) back above Toyota (-30.6%) in market off -23%

The new Maverick helps Ford regain control of the U.S. market in October.

New light vehicle sales in the U.S. are estimated to drop -23% year-on-year in October to around 1.040.000 units according to Morgan Stanley, that’s a slightly smaller decline than in September (-25%). It leads to a year-to-date volume up a round 9% to roughly 12.812.000 sales. We are now forecasting a Full Year 2021 volume up 3% to 14.98 million units, down from 15.16 million last month. In a sign that the market may have bottomed out, the Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Rate of sales is up from 12.27 million in September to 13.1 million units this month according to Motor Intelligence. The SAAR is down -20.3% on October 2020 (16.44 million then).

The microchip crisis continues to disrupt production and limit inventory which is staying below 1 million units for the third consecutive month according to J.D. Power. The average number of days a vehicle stays on a dealer lot before being sold is down to a record low 20, compared to 23 days last month and 49 a year ago. Tight supply and robust demand means carmakers are cutting incentives and focusing on the most profitable vehicles in their lineup (notably large pickups), which in turns drive average transaction prices to record high levels. J.D. Power estimates average incentives to crumble -53% year-on-year to a record low of $1,628 while TrueCar estimates them to fall -39% to $2,277. As for average transaction prices, TrueCar has them up 8.1% year-on-year and up 1% on September to $40,121, the first time above $40,000.

Among manufacturers still reporting sales monthly, Ford Motor (-4%) manages to keep its loss to a minimum, easily leaping above Toyota Motor (-28.6%) in difficulty. Ford Motor says crossover and SUV deliveries are up 13% and its inventory is actually growing by 7.000 units to 243.000 at the end of October. Hyundai-Kia (-0.4%) fares the best with almost stable sales while American Honda (-23.5%) matches the market. Looking at brands, Ford (-3.3%) regains the lead off Toyota (-30.6%) seeing a 7,000-unit deficit in October 2020 transform into a 42,000-unit advantage this month. Toyota however easily remains the most popular brand year-to-date with an unsurmountable 255,000-unit advantage. Honda (-23.1%) follows while Hyundai (-1.1%) and Kia (-7.2%) resist very well. Subaru (-40%) endures the largest decline among brands reporting monthly, with Mazda (-14.1%), Lexus (-15.2%), Lincoln (-17%) and Volvo (-18.6%) keeping their fall below the market rate. Finally Genesis (+402.8%) takes off thanks to its two new SUVs.

Model-wise, the Ford F-Series (-4.7%) limits its drop to well into the single-digits, unlike the Honda CR-V (-21.7%) and Toyota RAV4 (-38.6%). The Ford Explorer (-1.7%) is almost stable, with the Toyota Highlander (-18.7%), Honda Accord (-19.8%) and Ford Escape (-15.4%) falling slightly slower than the market. The Toyota 4Runner is actually up 0.7%, the Honda HR-V up 57.2%, the Hyundai Palisade up 15.3% and the Hyundai Kona up 29.1% whereas the Toyota Camry (-40.4%), Tacoma (-38.4%), Honda Civic (-38.7%) and Toyota Corolla (-61%) all freefall. Good holds also by the Kia K5 (-1.3%), Toyota Tundra (-2.5%), Lexus RX (-3.3%) and Kia Forte (-7.2%).

Previous month: USA September 2021: Sales fall -25% to lowest since 2010, Toyota now above GM YTD

One year ago: USA October 2020: Kia, Subaru set new records, market growth thins to +1%

Full October 2021 sales for selected 7 groups, 12 brands and 117 models below.

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