October was a successful month for the U.S. auto industry. Vehicle sales continued to experience steady improvement, up 13.4 percent over October 2009 and up 10.6 percent for the year. International brands were up 11.8 percent from October 2009 and 8.3 percent for the year. Some of the biggest gains were seen by Hyundai (up 37.6 percent from October 2009), Kia (38.7 percent), Subaru (25 percent), and Volkswagen (17.9 percent). Toyota once again sold the most of any international nameplate corporation in October, moving 145,474 vehicles, down from 147,162 in September 2010. With a 0.5 percent decrease in sales, Toyota is one of the few international automakers to see sales down for the year. General Motors led all U.S. sales with 183,543 units.
"International brand dealers are continuing to see steady improvement in sales," said AIADA President Cody Lusk. "Improving consumer confidence is combining with attractive 2011 models to bring shoppers to dealerships. At the end of the day, the quality of our products will determine the speed and sustainability of our recovery. "
Internationals Nameplates Sustain Market Share
According to figures provided by Autodata Corp., international brands occupied 54.6 percent of the market - a slight decrease from the 54.8 percent they held in September and 55.7 percent in August. Of the international brands, Asian automakers seized 45.9 percent of the market, compared to 46.1 percent in September, and sold 435,800 vehicles. European brands held an 8.7 percent market share, remaining consistent with September's market share, and sold 83,035 vehicles. Overall, Americans bought 518,835 international nameplate vehicles in October, down from 525,483 in September. Domestic brands occupied 45.4 percent of the market, a slight increase over September's 45.2 percent market share, and sold 431,330 vehicles.
Six of top 10 selling vehicles in October were international nameplates, down from seven in September. Trucks led the way with the Ford F-Series and the Chevrolet Silverado taking the top two spots, respectively. The Toyota Camry continued its reign as the best-selling car in America, remaining in the third slot for the third consecutive month. Normally a fixture on the top 10 list, the Honda Civic fell to eleventh place for the month, while the Ford Fusion broke into the ninth spot. Seven of the top 10 vehicles yielded year-over-year sales improvements, although the Hyundai Sonata's was the most dramatic, with sales up 124.7 percent since last October.
Americans continued their long-standing preference for crossovers and SUVs, purchasing 299,235 vehicles, up from 286,615 last month. Of those, 157,936 were international nameplates, while 141,299 were domestic brands. Per the usual, the midsize car segment sold the second greatest volume at 220,998 units, down from 243,760 in September. Overall, Americans purchased 950,165 vehicles in October, down from 958,966 in September. Of those, 448,127 were cars, while 502,038 were trucks. Asian nameplates sold 255,374 cars and 180,426 trucks. European nameplates registered sales of 59,813 cars and 23,222 trucks. Domestic brands finished the month with sales of 132,940 cars and 298,390 trucks.
Overall sales including domestic brands and unadjusted for the number of business days, were up 13.4 percent from October 2009. Sales were up 10.6 percent for the year. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicle sales is now estimated by AutoData Corp. to be at 12.26 million, up from 11.76 in September 2010. October is the first month the sales pace broke the 12 million mark since August 2009 - when the Cash for Clunkers program was in full swing.
See below for a complete breakdown of October 2010 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.