Counting Cars

(FINAL) October 2014 Sales Thread: October Sales Stay the Course


U.S. light-vehicle sales climb 6%. SAAR in line with prior month, year-to-date.

October 2014 Light Vehicle Sales Volume:
WardsAuto forecast LV Sales:                    1,278,338 million units
ACTUAL October LV Sales:                        1,273,138 million units

October 2014 Light Vehicle SAAR:
Forecast LV SAAR:                                    16.40 million
ACTUAL October LV SAAR:                       16.35 million

WardsAuto tracks light-vehicle deliveries throughout sales reporting day. Monthly year-over-year change represents the change in daily sales rate (DSR). October had 27 selling days this year and in 2013, meaning DSR % change and year-over-year comparisons of monthly sales volumes are the same this month.

U.S. automakers sold 1,273,138 light vehicles in October, directly in line with an earlier WardsAuto forecast. October LV deliveries were up 6% over same-month year-ago, and brought year-to-date sales for the industry to 13.64 million units, a 5.4% improvement over same-period 2013.

The month had its share of winners (Chrysler, Subaru, Kia, Mitsubishi) and losers (Ford, Hyundai, Daimler) but on average the industry stayed the course, with reported sales equating to a 16.35 million-unit SAAR, a hair above September's 16.33 million, and the nine-month year-to-date SAAR of 16.34 million.

The Detroit Three (plus Tesla) grabbed 45.6% of October sales, giving up a half-share point from year-ago, with combined deliveries of 580,147. The group's 4.9% year-over-year gain was just below its 5% year-to-date improvement.

Asia-based automakers posted the largest monthly growth of any group, with 567,996 sales in October equating to a 7.8% increase in daily sales good for a 44.6% share of the market, compared with a 43.9% share last year.

The group's sales are also up 6.6% year-to-date, to 6.27 million units.

European automaker sales, meanwhile, rose 3.9% in October, to 124,995 units, good for a 9.8% market share. The group's January through October sales are up just 1.3% - due largely to a running 12.2% year-to-year decline in sales of VW-brand vehicles.

Individual company results are summarized in the thread below.

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reported its first year-over-year decline in daily sales since August 2011, with a 4% drop in DSR compared with October 2013. Despite the year/year slide in monthly sales, Daimler's collective YTD brand sales (Mercedes, Sprint, Smart, Mitsu Fuso) are tracking 7.7% above year-ago. 

UPDATE 1:45 PM: After a year-over-year dip in September, Toyota sales rebounded, rising 6.9% in October compared with same-month year-ago, on 180,850 deliveries. Toyota YTD sales are up 5.8%. 

Collectively, Asia-based automakers sold just under 568,000 light vehicles in October, a 7.8% improvement over year-ago. Japanese and South Korean automakers have sold a combined 6.27 million units in the first 10 months of the year, up 6.6% over the same-period last year.

UPDATE 1:30 PM: 
Hyundai reported a 6.5% decline in DSR, the automaker's second consecutive drop in monthly sales, and its fifth since January. Hyundai's YTD sales are up just 1% through October, the second lowest improvement among Asian automakers after Honda.

BMW inched above expectations, with sales of 35,902 BMW and Mini-brand vehicles. The 7.9% uptick is bit better than the German automaker's 5.5% YTD sales bump. 

Audi continues to lead European luxury makers in year-over-year growth, with October sales outpacing year-ago by 16.5%, and YTD sales up 14.7%.

UPDATE 12:45 PM: 

Volkswagen solidly outperformed expectations with its first year-over-year gain in sales in since March, and its largest monthly gain since December 2012. VW-brand monthly deliveries climbed 7.8% in October to 30,313. Despite the unexpected rise, YTD sales for the German brand remain an industry-worst 12.2% below year-ago.

Mitsubishi sales continued to race above year-ago. The automaker delivered 6,199 vehicles, a 30.5% improvement over year-ago, in line with its YTD sales, which are tracking 29.8% above like-2013.

Subaru reported its best October ever, delivering more than 40,000 vehicles for the seventh straight month. The automaker's 43,012 October deliveries represented a 24.7% jump in daily sales versus like-2013. Subaru's year-to-date sales climbed above 418,000 units through 10 month, a 20.3% gain over same-period year-ago. 

Kia also reported record October sales, moving 44,694 units - a 12.4% jump in DSR that brought the automaker's YTD sales to just below 490,000 units, up 7.4%.

Ford Motor Co. beat expectations by roughly 6,000 units, but still fell short of its year-ago tally, with deliveries of 183,009 light vehicles representing a 2.1% drop in daily sales compared with October last year. Ford sales are trailing year-ago sales by 0.8% through the first 10 months of 2014. 

Collectively, the Detroit Three sold 578,364 LVs in October, up 4.8% over year-ago, bringing D3 YTD sales to 6.17 million units, a 5.1% improvement over like-2013.

Nissan deliveries were directly in line with WardsAuto expectations, with 103,117 Nissan and Infiniti-brand sales, up 13.3% over year-ago. Nissan's YTD deliveries are up 13%.

General Motors were nearly flat with year-ago, with daily sales up just 0.2%. The automaker sold 226,819 LVs in October, 417 more than same-month 2013, bringing GM's year-to-date sales to 2.43 million units - a 3.9% improvement over like year-ago. 

Fiat-Chrysler, meanwhile maintained a strong year-over-year performance, with 168,536 October LV deliveries - a 21.4% rise in DSR that puts FC's year-to-date sales 15.3% ahead of year-ago, at 1.72 million units. October was the automaker's 55th consecutive month of year-over-year volume gains, with nine of the company's vehicles recording best-ever sales, and all Chrysler, Jeep and Ram Truck brand vehicles registering year-over-year improvements.

Honda reported 121,172 combined Honda and Acura-brand deliveries, a 5.8% improvement in DSR compared to October last year. The year-over-year gain in monthly sales lifted the automaker's YTD sales 0.6% above year-ago, with 1.28 million sales compared with 1.27 million for the first 10 months.

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Blogs and commentary about automotive data, industry trends, and the future of the auto industry.


John Sousanis

John Sousanis oversees WardsAuto data operations as Director of Information Content, and is Ward’sAuto sales analyst. Follow John on Twitter @CountingCars.  

Haig Stoddard

Haig Stoddard is a veteran automotive industry analyst. His current focus is North America production and longterm sales forecasting.
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