The number of U.S.-market light-vehicle nameplates on track to record 100,000 deliveries for full-year 2010 represents a 39.1% increase over 2009, according to a Ward’s forecast.

As the critical fourth quarter approaches, the sales trend line indicates 32 cars and light trucks will hit the 100,000-unit mark, up from 23 last year.

First-time club members are the Nissan Versa C-car and the Chevrolet Traverse and Kia Sorento cross/utility vehicles. And with 68,835 deliveries through August, the Sorento already has outperformed its best-ever full year, 2004, when its tally was 52,878, according to Ward’s data.

Rounding out the list of nameplates absent from the 2009 honor roll but expected to hit 100,000 sales this year:

  • Chevolet Equinox CUV
  • Chrysler Town & Country minivan
  • Mazda3 C-car
  • Ford Edge CUV
  • Ford Econoline fullsize van
  • Honda Pilot

Related document: 100,000-Unit Sales List

Through August, 16 vehicles already have reached or exceeded 100,000 deliveries, led by a pair of pickups, the Ford F-Series – the nation’s best-selling nameplate for 33 years running – and the Chevy Silverado.

Light trucks account for six of the nameplates that have reached the plateau through the first eight months of the year, and 15 of the 32 total vehicles expected to hit 100,000 – a slight uptick from 2009’s 8:14 truck-vs.-car ratio.

The trend is consistent with the overall market’s growing preference for light trucks. Share split, which had been favoring cars, was even through August and sales were up 14.2%, compared with like-2009.

Car deliveries were tracking 3.1% ahead of prior-year, according to Ward’s.

Surging Town & Country sales are at the center of an emerging subplot. Outpaced by the Honda Odyssey since 2008, the Chrysler is turning the tables in the segment it pioneered, leading through August 78,492 to 71,584.

But the long-term race likely is far from being decided. The Odyssey has been redesigned for ’11, while Chrysler promises “extensive” interior, exterior and powertrain enhancements for the Town & Country and its Dodge Grand Caravan platform-mate.

The Grand Caravan is on the cusp of reaching 100,000 sales this year, according to the Ward’s forecast.

The BMW 3-Series midsize car is next, but likely will fall short with full-year deliveries in the range of 95,000.

Industry watchers are encouraged by the trend, which reflects the 8.4% upward curve in total light-vehicle tally. Magna International Inc.’s Scott Paradise describes Edge sales as “a pleasant surprise.”

But the mega-supplier is not ready to start popping champagne corks. While Magna has content on most of the top-selling vehicles, including all nine added to this year’s 100,000-unit club, it takes a broader view of the sales picture, based on global platform volume.

“There is no magic number for us,” says Paradise, vice president-marketing and business development-The Americas.

The top-selling car through August is the Toyota Camry with 220,061 deliveries. Ward’s projects it will remain No.1 through 2010.

The Toyota Prius, which recorded 91,940 sales through the first eight months of the year, is the only hybrid in position to hit 100,000. Its tally should be close to 136,000 by year’s end, according to Ward’s.

emayne@wardsauto.com