October Auto Sales Overcome Government Shutdown Impact

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Automakers reported October U.S. sales throughout the day Friday, and we will be following the reports and posting results as they come in. Sales in the first two weeks of the month were soft, due in large part to the shutdown of the federal government. The final two weeks of the month more than made up the difference for most carmakers.

Based on analysts’ estimates, the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for 2013 for October stands at 15.4 million units. Last year’s sales total reached 14.5 million.

Chrysler Group’s year-over-year sales rose 11% to 140,083 units, as the company’s Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram Truck brands all posted gains. Month-over-month, however, sales fell by about 3,000 units, or 2%. Chrysler forecast a seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales from all manufacturers at 15.7 million units for 2013, level with last month’s forecast.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) sales rose 14%, to 191,985 Ford and Lincoln vehicles, compared with October 2012 sales of 168,456. Ford reported that sales of its Fusion model rose 71% year-over-year and sales of the F-Series pickup trucks rose 12.9%, compared with October 2012.

General Motor Co. (NYSE: GM) sales rose 16% in October, from 195,764 a year ago to 226,402 vehicles this year. GM’s sales fell 11% in September, so the month-over-month growth totaled a whopping 21%. Fleet sales, which were down 27% in September, were down just 0.3% in October and contributed 21.5% of the months total sales, up from 20.4% in September.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) sales for the month totaled 168,976 units, up 4.8% compared with October 2012, and up 8.8% unadjusted, and that’s the number that is comparable. A company executive said, “Consumers showed resiliency in October with steady auto sales despite headwinds caused by the government shutdown.”

Volkswagen sold just 28,129 units in the United States in October. That is a drop of 18% year-over-year and down from sales of 31,920 in September. The company said it has sold 342,962 units so far in 2013, “on par” with the same period a year ago.

Nissan’s October sales rose 14.2% to more than 91,000 units, but the Japanese automaker reported abysmal quarterly earnings Friday morning and cut its profit forecast by 15%.

Hyundai/Kia reported October sales of 53,555 vehicles, which was up 7% year-over-year.