Trucks Dominate U.S. October Sales as Offshore Brands Dip

“The government shutdown appears to have had a limited impact on sales."

“The government shutdown appears to have had a limited impact on sales.”

The government shut down. The SAAR slipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15.23 million units. Offshore brands were outpaced by soaring Detroit Three truck and SUV sales, according to the final October U.S. sales results from AutoData.

The upshot – Asian and European brands saw their share slip almost -1% to 54% of the U.S. Market in October. The leading offshore group, Toyota Motor, posted a sales increase of 8% (168,976) from October 2012, but the automaker lost market share for the first time in five months. Volkswagen Group, without a truck lineup and with an aging product line, posted its biggest sales decline of the year at -18% to 41,534, with the VW brand itself plummeting -18% to 28,129 vehicles. This, while the Detroit Three posted double-digit sales gains from SUVs and pickup trucks.

Top Ten reordered by growing Ram sales.

Despite the government shut down, international brands posted a positive sales month overall, selling 652,008 vehicles, compared to 625,593 units they sold in September. Asian brands garnered 43.6% of the U.S. market, down from 44.6% last month and 47.3% in August. (As a rough rule of thumb, each percentage point of sales is worth $1 billion in profits.) However, they sold 526,814 vehicles, above the 508,213 units they sold in September and above the 485,384 they sold in October 2012. European brand market share improved slightly at 10.4%, up from 10.3% last month and 8.8% in August. Overall, Europeans sold 125,194 units, up from 117,380 last month, and an improvement over October 2012 sales figures at 120,602 vehicles.

The U.S. Treasury said this about the shut down: “The federal government shutdown in October will reduce the output of government services in the fourth quarter, though this should prove to be only a temporary restraint. A second round of sequester cuts in January could prove to drag on the economy for longer. The temporary nature of the resolution of the budget and debt ceiling implies that the possibility of another shutdown poses some downside risk to the outlook. The headwinds associated with the 2013 tax hikes should fade, partially offset this fiscal drag in 2014.”

Overall, the Detroit Three sold 556,028 units, up from 513,457 units in September and 486,176 last October in spite of the Washington follies. The important Top Ten Sales leaders were the usual nameplates, but a surging Ram Truck at almost 30,000 units sold moved into the Number Three spot, behind the perennial Number Two Chevrolet Silverado and Number One Ford F-Series.

As usual,  six out of the Top Ten selling vehicles were from offshore brands: Toyota Camry fourth; Civic in fifth place, Accord sixth, Toyota Corolla/Matrix seventh, Honda CR-V eighth place, Ford Escape ninth and Nissan Altima tenth. Nary a Detroit Three car on the list, but if Ford ever gets its production up on the Fusion, it has a good chance at making it into the Top Ten. Offshore brand vehicles continued to increase their manufacturing presence in North America. These plants supplied 386,281 of the vehicles sold in October. Asian brands sourced 358,332 of their vehicles from North American manufacturing facilities, while European brands sourced only 27,949 vehicles from North American plants.

“Fortunately for the industry, the government shutdown appears to have had a limited impact on sales,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “The growth we have seen throughout 2013 is solid and sustainable, and should continue to benefit manufacturers, dealers, and consumers alike.”

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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1 Response to Trucks Dominate U.S. October Sales as Offshore Brands Dip

  1. U.S. Treasury says:

    The debt limit places a limitation on the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments. Raising the debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments; it simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past.

    The Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 suspended the debt limit through February 7, 2014. A new debt limit will be calculated on February 8, 2014 in the manner prescribed by the Act. At that time, Treasury will have extraordinary measures available, which will allow the government to continue to finance its obligations for a period of time.

    During the recent debt limit impasse, concerns that the debt limit would not be increased before extraordinary measures were exhausted led to significant disruptions in the secondary market for short-dated Treasury securities and a measurable increase in borrowing costs for newly issued Treasury bills. As such, Treasury respectfully urges Congress to provide certainty and stability to the economy and financial markets by acting to raise the debt limit well before February 7, 2014. (From a Treasury statement issued 6 November 2013 – editor)

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