Nissan slides a fourth time in five months
Automakers likely saw U.S. sales gain in October following a steep drop the previous month, even as new-vehicle prices hit record highs.
Total deliveries may have risen 2.5% from a year ago to 1.39 million, benefiting in part from one extra selling day, according to a joint estimate from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. The forecast works out to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 17.3 million vehicle sales, down about 200,000 units from a year ago.
With buyers shifting from sedans to more expensive sport utility vehicles and pickups, the average transaction price for new models is expected to top $34,000 for the first time ever, rising almost $1,300 from a year ago. Even so, intense competition is forcing automakers to lure buyers with generous incentives, which are projected to exceed $4,000 per vehicle, as the industry struggles to move record levels of old model-year inventory off dealer lots.
Detroit’s three major manufacturers have stopped reporting monthly numbers, so tallies for October won’t include official figures from General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Other automakers, mostly foreign brands, generated about 56% of U.S. new-vehicle sales in the first half of the year, according to car-shopping researcher Edmunds.
Here are highlights from the automakers that are reporting results for last month:
Nissan Continues Rough Run
Nissan Motor Co. deliveries fell for the fourth time in the last month, sliding 5.8% to 103,563.
The Infiniti luxury brand has been weighing on the company’s numbers all year, and the trend continued into October with sales plunging 23%. The only models in the lineup that didn’t drop were the Q50 sedan and QX60 crossover.
Honda’s Little Models Help a Lot
Honda Motor Co.’s 7.6% gain to 131,443 cars and trucks was driven by some of its most diminutive models.
Deliveries doubled for the HR-V crossover and tripled for the Fit subcompact.
Trucks Torment Toyota
Toyota Motor Corp. had a bit of an anomalous month for an era where pickups and utility vehicles are king.
Sales fell for both the Tacoma and Tundra truck models, as well as the Highlander SUV. Total deliveries dipped 1.2% to 188,787.
Hyundai SUV Strength
South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. had a banner month with sales up 8.4% to 57,094 vehicles, paced by demand for its Santa Fe mid-size 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.