Auto sales ticked upwards in October even while carmakers generally scaled back on the hefty incentives that have slashed industry earnings – plunging some brands deeply into the red – over the last few years.
Overall the auto industry enjoyed its best month in two years – discounting the brief impact of last year’s Cash for Clunkers program — and Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Kia all reported double-digit increases. Among the major brands, only Toyota suffered a setback, its sales dropping 4%.
(The industry will find it difficult to reach the 17 million peak of years past, TheDetroitBureau.com reports. Click Here.)
“In October there was more merchandising,” noted Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of sales. “I was happy to see consumers were responding to merchandising rather than incentives,” he said.
Total sales for the Ford, Lincoln and soon-to-be-discontinued Mercury brands totaled 157,935, up 19% versus year ago. The MKZ hybrid also made solid gains in the market as it succeeded in winning over buyers from other brands, Czubay said.
The new Fiesta subcompact posted its best sales month ever, particularly on the West Coast, where demand has been particularly brisk – despite that market’s traditional reluctance to embrace domestic products. The 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers, with MyFordTouch and MyLincolnTouch technology, also have gotten off to a strong start.
There had been some concern that Ford and Chrysler would fall short of year-earlier numbers, but Chrysler Group LLC also reported, a 37% increase, and October marked the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases for the troubled maker.