Dealers across the country breathed a sigh of relief last month as auto sales began to show signs of stability. Sales in October were up about 12 percent from September 2009. October marks only the second month in two years, including August 2009, that saw neutral or improved sales. "When it comes to jobs and the economy, Americans are feeling more positive than they have in a long time. That mindset seems to be reflected in auto retail sales," said AIADA Chairman and Wisconsin dealer Russ Darrow. "These numbers are hopeful, but we still have a long way to go."
International Brands Build Market Share According to numbers from Autodata Corp., international brands sold 463,984 units in October, up from 419,080 in September, and 448,351 in October 2008. Asian brands accounted for 46.6 percent of the market, down from 46.5 percent in September 2009, and European nameplates had an 8.8 percent share, down from 9.6 percent in September. Domestic brands finished the month with 44.6 percent of the market, up from 43.8 in September.
Top Selling Vehicles
Eight of the top ten selling vehicles in October were international makes, up from six in September. Once again the Ford F Series pickup was number one for the month. The Toyota RAV4 and Prius moved into the top ten, replacing the Dodge Ram Pickup and Chevrolet Impala.
As was the case last month, international vehicles again held 10 of the top 20 spots. The Subaru Legacy made strides, cracking the top 20 for the month of October with sales of 9,705, up 150 percent from October 2008.
Americans purchased 234,815 SUVs and crossover vehicles in the month of October, more than any other class. Coming in second was the mid-size car segment with 221,357 vehicles sold. Overall, international nameplates sold 305,070 cars and 158,914 trucks, compared with 126,417 domestic cars and 247,651 domestic trucks.
Overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, were unchanged from October 2008 but down 25.4 percent for the year. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicles now stands at 10.46 million, compared to 10.82 million units in October 2008. The current SAAR is a significant improvement over September’s 9.22 million rate.
Hyundai reported a 48.9 percent sales improvement over October 2008, while Kia was up 45.3 percent, and Subaru was up 40.7 percent. Other notable brand improvements include Lexus, which was up 19.8 percent, and Volvo, which was up 19.4 percent. Along with Subaru, Hyundai and Kia are the only brands to see a year over year improvement from 2008.
See below for a complete breakdown of October 2009 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.