With interest rates remaining lower, Honda, Mazda and Hyundai increased sales in October, while Toyota and Volkswagen’s slipped, according to new monthly sales totals for last month.
The industry is expected to post a small increase for October. Automakers will not finish reporting sale until Nov. 4, according to Cox Automotive.
Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) today reported October 2019 sales of 188,787 vehicles, a decrease of 1.2% on a volume basis and down 4.9% on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis versus October 2018.
Toyota division posted October sales of 165,644 units, down 1.6% on a volume basis and down 5.3%. Lexus division posted October sales of 23,143 vehicles, up 1.9% on a volume basis and down 1.9%.
American Honda Motor Co. reported a 7.6% gain in October, selling 131,443 cars and trucks. The Honda brand set a record with an 8% gain, with its trucks – led by the CR-V and HR-V – which rose 17.5% and set a new October benchmark. Acura trucks also set an October record as division nets 2.4% gain
“With the Honda CR-V topping the 5 million cumulative sales mark to reaffirm its position as the best-selling crossover for over two decades, it’s fitting that Honda crossover and light truck models led Honda to an all-time October sales record,” said Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice president of Automobile Sales at American Honda Motor Co.
“Both the Honda and Acura brands are marching forward as we head into the final two months of the year on pace to see American Honda post a sales increase for 2019.”
Deliveries doubled for the HR-V crossover and tripled for the Fit subcompact.
South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. also had a strong month with sales up 8.4% to 57,094 vehicles, paced by demand for its Santa Fe midsize and new Palisade full-size SUVs. The brand resumed its growth trajectory after hitting a speed bump in September, the first month in more than a year it saw sales decline.
Mazda’s North America Operations reported total October sales of 19,520 vehicles, an increase of 4.5% compared to October 2018. The increase was led by the automaker’s crossovers, including the CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9, reached 14,450 vehicles, up 18.7% compared during the month, offsetting the 22% drop in car sales.
Subaru reported a 0.3% sales increase for October, selling more than 55,000 vehicles — a new record. October marked the 68th consecutive month of 40,000-plus vehicle sales for the automaker. Ascent sales were notably strong rising 1.4% for its best October ever. Impreza posted a 3.6% increase. Crosstrek marked an increase of 10% and also set new all-time monthly sales record.
Nissan Group said its sales dropped 5.8%. The Nissan division slid 3.7%, but Infiniti sales dropped 23%. A bright spot for the company was its small Kicks SUV sales set an October record with 3,362 units, up 3%.
Jaguar Land Rover reported that sales of Jaguar dropped 11% while Land Rover sales increased by 3%. Audi sales rose 19.4% last month with the A6, A7 and Q8 pushing that increase, the automaker reported.
Volkswagen fell in line with Toyota on the monthly decline side of the ledger with sales dropping 3.2% compared with October 2018. A 21% jump in SUV sales for the German automaker wasn’t enough to offset a 21% decline in car sales. The automaker has long been known for its cars and it has been playing catch up on the SUV front.
Well, it looks like it’s there as 53% of October sales were from its sport-utility line-up.
“The growth from our SUV sales continue to lift the brand,” said Werner Eichhorn, chief sales and marketing officer, VW’s North American Region. “We’ve been encouraged by our overall strength in 2019 and the balance of our portfolio.”
General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler N.V. only report sales on a quarterly basis now.
The average interest rate for a new-vehicle loan stayed under 6% for the fourth month in a row in October, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds.
The annual percentage rate on new financed vehicles averaged 5.7% in October, compared to 5.7% in September and 6.2% in October of 2018. Edmunds experts say car shoppers found much better financing offers this year compared to last October, when interest rates spiked above 6% and stayed there through the first six months of 2019.
“Car shoppers got to take advantage of some decent financing offers as automakers continued their model-year sell-down efforts in October,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of industry analysis. “Auto loan interest rates still aren’t as low as they were a few years ago, but it’s good news for shoppers that rates appear to be reaching a point of relative stability.”
Edmunds experts note that the Fed rate cut at the end of the month happened too late to do much for October sales, but could help ease financing conditions for car shoppers through the rest of 2019.
However, Kelley Blue Book reported the estimated average transaction price for a light vehicle in the United States was $38,259 in October 2019. New vehicle prices increased $1,064 or 2.9% from October 2018, while decreasing $141 or 0.4% from last month.
“Average transaction prices were generally favorable for most automakers, as the industry average climbed 3% year-over-year, partially due to the shifting sales mix from cars to trucks and SUVs,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “However, car prices did grow by 2% in October 2019, their biggest improvement in nearly a year.”
Michael Strong contributed to this report.