(This story has been updated with new information.)
Subaru, Toyota and Hyundai reported brisk sales for October as the industry continues to show signs of shaking off the slump attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Toyota reported what it described as its best ever October sales, which increased 8.8% on a volume basis. Toyota Division sales for the month were up 7.8%; Lexus Division sales for the month increased 15.3%.
Hybrid sales in October increased 41.6% and for the month accounted for nearly 17.5% of total Toyota sales. For the calendar year, hybrid sales have increased up 13.1%. Total hybrid sales accounted for nearly 15% of total TMNA sales through the first 10 months of 2020.
Subaru of America reported an 11% increase for October compared with the year-ago period. October also marked the sixth consecutive month of 50,000-plus vehicle sales for the automaker in 2020.
“October saw impressive sales across all segments and was the best October in the history of the Subaru franchise, an achievement that would be impossible without the perseverance of our dedicated retailer network,” said Thomas J. Doll, president and CEO, Subaru of America Inc.
For the first 10 months of the year, Toyota sales dropped 15% while Subaru’s declined 14% and Hyundai fell by almost 11%.
Hyundai Motor America reported a 1% increase compared with October 2019. Genesis saw its sales plummet 46% last month. Retail sales were up 10%. Hyundai fleet sales were down 45% and represented 9% of total volume. With SUVs representing 68% of the total retail mix. Hyundai retail sales grew 23%, officials said.
“October was the second straight month with double digit Hyundai retail sales growth as the automotive retail market continues to show resiliency,” said Randy Parker, vice president, National Sales, Hyundai Motor America.
“Our SUV products drove the majority of the growth, but our all-new Sonata achieved a 20% retail gain, a sign that the right sedan can still drive consumer demand. And our all-new Elantra will be joining it on dealer lots later this month.”
American Honda didn’t fare as well as its contemporaries, sales falling 3.4%. The Honda brand declined 3.4% during the period while its Acura luxury division performed a bit better, posting a just a 1.2% slide last month.
Mazda reported a 17% jump, led by truck sales, which jumped 24% during the month. With only a handful of manufacturers reporting monthly sales, analysts have said overall sales continued to improve during October as retail sales remained steady despite rising prices and smaller incentives.
J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said retail sales for the month of October probably increased 3% compared with October 2019, signaling a continuing recovery from the sales drop caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the U.S. for much of the year.
The industry is learning to live with the pandemic though total sales for the full year are expected to fall some 800,000 units short of the total in 2019, analysts suggested.
The upside is that automakers are making more in each vehicle they sell, according to analysts. The average incentive in October was $3,678 per vehicle, down $425 from last year. It was also the second consecutive month that figure was below $4,000, J.D. Power estimated, adding discounts have trended down since peaking at $4,953 per unit in April.
ALG forecasts October incentives averaged $3,869, up 2.6% from October 2019 but down 5.2% from September. Despite not getting as much money on the hood and still suffering from the impact of the pandemic, the month was still positive.
“Two consecutive months of year-over-year retail sales increases demonstrates that consumer demand is showing remarkable strength,” noted Thomas King, president of J.D. Power analytics division.