Despite Sandy’s Impact, October Auto Sales Continue to Rise

Market Watch 10/31/12

Although Hurricane Sandy stifled auto sales at the end of October, the month was still a successful one for America’s international nameplate dealers. Sales for all brands, unadjusted for business days, were up 6.9 percent from October 2011 and 13.8 percent year over year.

Subaru (up 30.1 percent), Toyota (up 16.8 percent), and Volkswagen (up 22.4 percent) enjoyed the biggest gains from October 2011. Nissan, whose stronghold is in the northeast, saw sales fall 6 percent from October 2011. In response to the storm, Nissan and Infiniti will both offer employee discounts and financing to eligible residents in FEMA disaster areas. Across the board, incentives were down 2.9 percent from September and 5.6 percent from October 2011.

“Hurricane Sandy may have put a crimp in sales, but consumer confidence and personal income are both climbing,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “That’s good news for auto dealers and the communities they support.”

Market Share Remains Stable

International brands held 55.4 percent of the U.S. auto market in October with sales of 606,029 vehicles. The numbers were a slight decrease from September when they occupied 56.1 percent of the market and sold 666,301 vehicles.

Asian automakers captured 44.1 percent of the market, down from the 46.1 percent they occupied in September. Overall sales for the month hit 485,384 compared to 547,703 vehicles last month. Asian brands are currently up 8 percent over last October and 18.9 percent for the year-to-date.

European automakers gained in October, moving from a 10 percent share of the market in September to 11 percent in October. Led by Volkswagen, which experienced its best October since 1972, European brands sold 120,645 vehicles and were up 15.1 percent over last October. For the year-to-date, they have experienced a 19.4 percent uptick.

Domestic brands finished the month with 44.5 percent of the market and sales of 466,944 vehicles, up 4.1 percent over last October. In September, they sold 522,564 units and held 45.3 percent of the market. For the year-to-date, domestic brands are up 8.9 percent.

International Vehicles Gain Steam on Top 10 List

Six international nameplate models held spots on October’s list of best-selling models, up from five last month. At number three behind the Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado pickups, the Toyota Camry continued its reign as the top-selling car in America with sales of 29,926 units, a 35.8 percent increase over last October. In fourth place and celebrating its 30th year in America, the Honda Accord climbed 25.5 percent from last October to sell 28,349 vehicles. Also making waves was the Nissan Altima, which moved into sixth place from number seven last month; the model is up 12.8 percent and sold 24,949 units. Rounding out the list’s international nameplate presence in seventh, eighth, and ninth places, respectively, was the Toyota Corolla/Matrix, Honda Civic, and Honda CR-V.

Vehicle Segments

The small car segment saw the largest gains in October, with sales up 32 percent over last October. The segment sold 211,626 units, down from the 240,288 last month. The midsize car and luxury segments were up 3.7 percent and 5.6 percent respectively. Although it declined by 0.5 percent from last October, the SUV and crossover segment continued its dominance, with sales of 322,767 vehicles, down from 355,063 units last month.


AutoData Corp. estimated the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) at 14.29 million units, an improvement over 13.34 million units one year ago.