The government shutdown affected sales early in October, but volume picked up enough in the second half to capture most of the lost units.
U.S. light-vehicle sales continued to plow ahead in October, even though they were somewhat impeded by the temporary government shutdown.
October posted a 15.2 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate and recorded the 38th consecutive year-over-year volume increase based on daily selling rates.
The SAAR was the lowest since the same total in April, but well above year-ago’s 14.3 million. The SAAR for the first 10 months of 2013 is 15.4 million, up from year-ago’s 14.3 million. For sales to reach the 15.6 million-unit forecast for the year, November and December will have to post a combined 16.1 million SAAR.
According to several automakers, the government shutdown affected sales early in October, but volume picked up enough in the second half to capture most of the lost units. No specific data is available to gauge losses from the shutdown, but WardsAuto estimates they don’t exceed 3% of the month’s volume and mostly will be made up in November.
The LV market recorded a DSR of 44,519 over the month’s 27 selling days, 6.4% above year-ago’s 41,831 on 26 selling days. Comparisons with year-ago are skewed higher because of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast at the end of October 2012, and cut an estimated 5% off the month’s volume. If not for year-ago’s storm effect, October’s DSR would have been relatively flat with or slightly below like-2012.
Fuel prices, at a 3-year-low for gasoline and below year-ago for both gasoline and diesel for three consecutive months, could be impacting the industry mix.
October car deliveries increased just 2.5%. Trucks were up 10.1% and garnered a 53.1% share of the market, well above same-month 2012’s 51.3%. Year-to-date, light-truck penetration is 50.6%, compared with 10-month 2012’s 49.3%.
Sales of small LVs in October declined from year-ago for the second straight month after 36 consecutive increases. The decline was mainly with cars, as small CUVs increased a robust 38.1% on big gains from the Subaru XV Crosstrek, Jeep Compass and Patriot andJuke. Small SUVs, accounting for a small fraction of the segment, were down 28.9%.
Sales of large trucks increased 14.1% from year-ago, including gains of 40.8% for large CUVs and 34.1% for large SUVs. ThePathfinder led CUVs, and GM’s four large SUVs combined for a 44.1% increase.
Large pickups continued their upward climb with a 7.6% increase in sales, good for an LV share of 13.3% vs. year-ago’s 13.1%. Year-to-date through October, large pickups posted an 11.9% LV share, vs. like-2012’s 10.9%.
Midsize cars declined 1.5% in October, but the small-volume large- and luxury-car segments were up 86.5% and 14.7%, respectively.
Large-car sales were goosed by the Dodge Charger and the recently redesigned Chevrolet Impala.
Sales in the Lower Luxury segment, equal to roughly two-thirds of the group, were flat with year-ago. Huge increases in the remaining four luxury-car segments -- Middle Luxury (21%), Upper Luxury (18%), Luxury Specialty (27%) and Luxury Sport (83%) – led to the group’s double-digit gain.
Of the major automakers, GM led with an 11.4% increase from year-ago. GM’s October share of 18.8% was well above like-2012’s 18.0% and a major improvement from prior-month’s 16.5%.
and Nissan both followed with 10.0% increases, and posted a 6.6% gain. Sales for and Toyota were up, but both lost market share from like-2012.
Also, Jaguar-Land Rover roared to a 45.9% increase and Subaru surged 27.1%., Porsche and all also recorded increases.
Falling below year-ago were, Kia, Volvo and Group.
’s loss was somewhat surprising, especially because October is typically a strong month for luxury vehicles and the automaker was coming off eight straight increases, most of them in double digits. The decline mainly was from a 10.1% drop in CUVs. BMW’s luxury car sales were up 11.9%.