Major Makers Report Encouraging Sales for OctoberBy AutoObserver Staff November 3, 2010
Traditionally, October is a relatively uneventful month in the U.S. automotive calendar, stuck between the new-model excitement of September and retailers' typical end-of-the-year push for sales.
That's why major American automakers were just fine with industry-wide October sales of 949,644 units. Though they were about flat with September's sales, October results improved by 14 percent over October 2009 sales of 763,050 units, representing yet another increment of year-over-year improvement in a market that now is sustaining a modest but firm recovery.
October sales, always the third lowest month for unit sales, clocked at a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of about 12.2 million units, the best monthly performance in more than two years except for August of last year, which was anomalous because of the government's popular Cash for Clunkers program.
So Far, So Good
"We were very encouraged by what appeared to be a general strengthening of the overall sales environment in October," said Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president of sales, Hyundai Motor America, which posted a 38-percent increase in sales over October 2009.
October's sales provided "signs of a steady recovery and bode well for the auto sector," said Don Johnson, vice president of U.S. sales operations for General Motors, which posted a 13-percent sales increase. Rising demand, he added, will begin to "speed up the industry's recovery." Johnson said that "consumers are now more willing to come back to the market to replace their old vehicles."
The results supported the consensus industry view that full-year U.S. auto sales will end up at 11.5 million to 12 million units. Ford executives floated the expectation that sales would rise overall to about 13 million units for 2011, and GM's Johnson - while not blessing a specific projection - said that "we don't see it radically different from" such expectations.
But auto-maker executives also cautioned that the industry's recovery will continue to progress only as long as the U.S. economy as a whole shows growing improvement. "The story we see is a little brighter this month but tempered by slow employment growth," Johnson cautioned. The rate of employment growth will determine just how fast the recovery progresses."
"We are seeing some positive response from the overall market," said Jim O'Donnell, president and CEO of BMW of North America, "but with little job growth and only slight increases in consumer spending, our dealers have to fight for every sale."
At Nissan North America Inc., where October sales improved 16.4 percent, Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager of the Nissan division, said the company thinks consumer confidence is improving and buyers "feel a little more confident about their jobs."
It's a New Model Year
So automakers scrap for every purchase, flush with 2011 models and, at this point, with production and inventories generally under control so that they aren't forced to undercut their progress with hefty incentive programs.
"The business is moving from 2010s being sold at big discounts to 2011s sold at a premium," said Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com. "The 2011s are doing OK, so there is some indication that consumers are willing to pay more for the newer models. They're hesitant but feeling a bit better."
As a case in point, Johnson said that 76 percent of GM's stock at the end of October were 2011 models, and 85 percent of its dealers' stocks were new-year models compared with a stock comprised of just 49 percent of 2010 models a year ago.
At Ford Motor Co., which continues to rip through 2010, the inventory of 2010s also has been chopped and as a result, transaction prices are up, sales executives told reporters today. About 63 percent of Ford's total sales in October were 2011 models and more than 70 percent of its inventory was 2011s.
"The industry as a whole has a much more disciplined approach to the market now," Johnson said. "There's little risk that any manufacturer will have to launch anything like an incentive war."
General Motors: Properly Primping
As it was detailing plans for its IPO to launch Nov. 17, General Motors was reporting an increase in sales of 4 percent selling 183,543 vehicles.
"GM had a pretty strong finish to the month," said Jessica Caldwell, head of U.S. industry analysis for Edmunds.com. "It was pretty evident that they wanted to beat analysts' [sales] expectations for October, given the pending IPO. It dovetails quite nicely with their IPO announcement - they can really tout it."
Said GM's Johnson: "Our October results show that our focused plan is working, as our four brands continue to grow. Our sales are up more than double the industry's increase through October, and we've gained almost two points of market share."
GM sales were led by its newest and most popular crossover vehicles - Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX -- whose sales advanced by 58 percent over October 2009.
Chevrolet posted a 7-percent year-to-year increase. The performance of Chevy's new Cruze compact is encouraging GM executives because its buyers tend to be significantly younger than those for the Cobalt model it replaced. Also more than half of Cruze buyers so far have been women, another important target for the vehicle. And average transaction prices for Cruze are much higher than for Cobalt.
GM has made competing Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Ford Focus models the specific targets of its Cruze advertising, but Johnson declined to say what percentage of Cruze purchasers are abandoning the other models.
The company sold about 5,000 Cruzes in October, "and we want to significantly increase that in November," Johnson said.
Buick remained the fastest-growing major retail brand in the U.S. market, with October sales up 39 percent compared with a year ago on the strength of the new Buick Regal and still-popular LaCrosse and Enclave models.
GM posted a 32-percent increase in commercial-fleet sales in October. Overall, its fleet sales comprised about 24 percent of GM's total sales for the month, below its year-to-date level of around 30 percent but well within GM's plan for the year.
"Everybody talks about fleet sales almost like they're a bad thing," Johnson said. "But in today's [sales] environment, we look at fleet sales as an important part of our business. The key is doing it in a balanced way, profitably, and supporting residual values."
Edmunds.com's Caldwell concurred. "GM had a healthy fleet mix" in October, she said, "and that helps the bottom line."
Ford: Hitting On Cylinders
Sales that increased 20.1 percent in October was only part of the story for Ford Motor Co.: its annual truck-month program saw the company move almost 50,000 F-Series pickups, there were solid results from many other vehicle lines and Ford, like GM, also is making no apologies about its burgeoning position on the fleet side of the business.
Moreover, with October's 157,935 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales making for 1.6 deliveries year-to-date, the company already has surpassed the number of vehicles sold in all of 2009.
For October, car sales were up by 20 percent, trucks by 25 percent and utilities improved by 9 percent.
"It was an excellent month, balanced coast-to-coast," said Ken Czubay, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service.
And Ford executives boasted that Ford now has six of the eight best-selling vehicles in the commercial-fleet market. Fleet sales accounted for 29 percent of Ford's total in October and 32 percent of year-to-date sales - a figure running slightly ahead of last year, when fleet sales through October accounted for 29 percent of Ford's total.
But the big story for the month was the F-Series, symbolic of an industry-wide resurgence for light trucks. The company's annual Truck Month promotion was taken seriously by 49,071 F-Series buyers - and made for the F-Series' largest monthly sales volume in almost three years. The number represented a 24.2-percent hike over last October's F-Series total.
"It's a good harbinger of the economy starting to move forward," said Czubay.
Ford executives also expressed satisfaction with the Transit Connect light-duty van, with sales up 70.3 percent for the month and even the outmoded Ranger midsize pickup improved by 13.7 percent, although its 47,291 sales year-to-date are a sliver of former volumes.
Almost all of Ford's passenger cars performed well in October, with the Fusion midsizer up 29.1 percent and booming its way to another big year, one that will see 200,000-plus sales. The new Fiesta subcompact contributed 3,846 units, and although Czubay said the Fiesta has the best conquest performance of any Ford model, he admitted the company is "pleased but not satisfied" with Fiesta's sales rate.
The Mustang was up 11 percent in October and the Focus improved 22.5 percent despite the fact an all-new replacement is coming early next year, leaving the Taurus (-9.2 percent) and the Crown Victoria (-36.2 percent) as the only losers in Ford's car lineup.
The revised-for-2011 Edge was up 24.4 percent for the month and the Escape compact crossover is hammering along at a good clip for such an aged vehicle, up 16.9 percent compared with last October and up 13.4 percent for the year with a solid 157,398 sales year-to-date. The old-school Explorer (replaced by an all-new, unibody-platform model starting late next month) and full-size Expedition slid in October, although sales for both remain up for the year, and the Flex was down 6.7 percent in October and 8.1 percent year-to-date at less than 30,000 units, leaving question as to how long Ford may continue with the crossover-nee-minivan.
The performances at the Lincoln premium division were less uplifting, however, as the brand's sales were up a total of 1.5 percent thanks to a 174-percent gain for the Town Car, where it might be assumed almost all 988 sales for the month were to limousine operators in anticipation of the model's discontinuation.
Lincoln's MKS flagship was off 32.6 percent in October to just 1,085 units, and the MKT declined 18.3 percent. The MKZ entry-level car was up 11.4 percent and Ford said the penetration rate for the MKZ hybrid, which sells for the same price as the conventional 6-cylinder MKZ, is running double the rate for the Fusion hybrid.
Toyota: Another Stubbed Toe
Just when Toyota seems to be acquiring momentum anew in the U.S. auto market, the company's problematic quality and safety engineering rears up and bites the company in the bumper.
That's what happened again in October, when Toyota announced a 1.5-million vehicle recall due to braking problems that affected models including Lexus IS, Toyota Avalon and Toyota Highlander. The company has been plagued all year by a string of safety recalls that have discouraged its customers, depressed sales, and tarnished its brands.
Partly as a result, Toyota's sales sagged by more than 4 percent for the month, to 145,474 vehicles from 152,165 units a year earlier. Another factor was that October 2009 was one of Toyota's strongest months of that year, out of synch with the rest of the industry which demonstrated traditional seasonal moderation in sales.
"Sales were stable when compared to either last [October] or last month," Bob Carter, general manager of the Toyota division, said on a conference call. "And that's a good thing. We've had several months of stability in the marketplace and I'd much prefer that to the wild monthly swings we saw earlier in the year."
And indeed, Toyota led the industry year-to-date in sales to consumers, with more than 17 percent of the retail market, Carter noted. Toyota sold more mid-size and compact cars than any other automaker during the month. And its Camry compact was the best-selling car in the U.S. continuing to stretch its year-to-date leadership position.
But Edmunds.com's Caldwell said that Toyota's sales for October would have been even lower except that the company was "pushing their generous incentive programs" at the end of the month. Overall, she added, the company now is "at a much different place" with much higher incentive spending than ever in the brand's history.
Yet Caldwell noted that Toyota's problems in the U.S. market run even deeper than its continual recalls. They also stem "from a lack of new models, especially when you take into account the strong new models coming from the competition these days," she said.
Toyota's lone brand bright spot was Lexus, its luxury division, where sales rose by 8 percent over a year earlier. Lexus car sales were led by the ES entry-level luxury sedan, whose sales were up about 21 percent over a year ago (on an adjusted, daily-selling-rate basis) . Other strong Lexus performers were the RX 350 and RX 450h crossovers.
In fact, the spurt put Lexus back on top as the U.S. industry's best-selling luxury brand for 2010, after Mercedes-Benz briefly had stolen the lead in September. The last year Mercedes-Benz outsold Lexus was 2000, Edmunds.com data shows.
Yet, as Caldwell noted, much of Lexus's success last month "was deal-based," because Lexus was selling a much higher percentage of 2010 models that it was seeking to clear off dealer lots - about 81 percent 2010s versus only 21 percent of Mercedes-Benz units that were 2010 models.
Honda: Gains On Strength Of Odyssey
American Honda Motor Co. Inc. chalked up a solid 15.6 gain compared with last October, an increase borne by a big jump for the heavily revised Odyssey minivan, which outsold every industry competitor for the month, and with improvements for every model at its upscale Acura unit.
The redesigned '11 Odyssey is widely acknowledged as a well-considered update of what many already considered the best all-around minivan in the market, and buyers got the message, bumping Odyssey sales by a hefty 52.2 percent in October, to 9,955 units. The October jump also brought Odyssey's year-to-date performance to a 6.1-percent improvement.
The Pilot midsize crossover also enjoyed a healthy 33.6-percent gain, with year-to-date sales up by 24.7 percent and Honda able to flirt with the possibilty of 6-figure sales for the Pilot, which has spent some time lagging on the company's sales charts.
The always-popular CR-V compact crossover gained 19.4 percent in October, to 18,040 sales, and the Element gained 36.9 percent, but the Ridgeline kept Honda's light trucks from running the table by posting a decline of 16.2 percent. Ridgeline sales have totaled just 13,959 year-to-date.
Honda's passenger cars posted gains across the board: Accord was up by 8.8 percent in October, the Civic was up 11.9 percent (Civic Hybrid: +187.2 percent!) and even the Insight hybrid posted a 17.2-percent improvement. The new CR-Z 2-door hybrid added 1,419 incremental sales.
At Acura, which was flagging early this year, sales for every vehicle showed improvement, led by the 67.9-percent leap for the RL flagship - though volume was scanty at 251 total sales - and followed by a 44.7-percent gain for the RDX compact crossover. Sales for the TL were up 25.6 percent, the entry-level TSX recorded a 1.6-percent gain and the MDX crossover was up 6.7 percent.
Year-to-date Acura sales have recovered to gain 25.3 percent compared with the first ten months of 2009, with Acura moving a total of 107,399 units so far this year.
Chrysler Jumps 39 Percent as Grand Cherokee Slays
The Chrysler Group LLC, making good on the promise of a top-to-bottom makeover of its long-languid Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep model ranges, improved October sales by 38.6 percent compared with October, 2009, highlighted by a strong response to the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Chrysler surely could use a high-profit-margin winner and the re-engineered Grand Cherokee bolted out of the gate with a 291-percent gain compared with last October. According to data from Edmunds.com, the 12,721 sales delivered the Grand Cherokee's best month since December, 2006.
The new Grand Cherokee was but one of the brand's high-fliers in October, though: the Compass and Patriot shot up 138 percent and 155 percent, respectively, Wrangler was up 49 percent and the Liberty improved 46 percent. The soon-to-be-gone Commander was Jeep's only decliner (-76 percent) on the way to a 111-percent overall gain for Jeep compared with October, 2009.
Chrysler's Dodge unit eked out a 3-percent gain for the month, led by a 376-percent gain for the Compass compact car that had the whiff of a large fleet and/or inventory build. The Challenger gained 33 percent and the Nitro compact SUV gained 50 percent to 2,133 sales.
Sales at the Chrysler unit improved 18 percent in October, led by the outsized 376-percent jump for the PT Cruiser (656 total sales) and the 300's 79-percent advance. The division's only other gain came from the 18-percent hike for the Town & Country minivan. The Sebring, which slid 13 percent, will be replaced by the 200 later this year, Chrysler said.
On the truck side, sales for the Ram pickup were up 41 percent to 17,316 units. The Dakota midsize pickup gained 50 percent and logged 774 sales.
Nissan: Coming on with Trucks, Infiniti
Trucks and the Infiniti luxury division pushed Nissan North America Inc. to a 16.4-percent sales improvement in October, with Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager of the Nissan division saying the U.S. truck market is "definitely heating up."
Such was the case for Nissan's trucks, almost all of which made gains compared with last October. The leader was the Frontier midsizer pickup and its 51.3-percent jump, and the truck suddenly is leading 2009's year-to-date sales by 43.1 percent, at 33,507 units.
The Titan fullsize pickup gained 16.4 percent in October and year-to-date sales for Nissan's sometimes-problematic big pickup also are up a healthy 26.2 percent for the year. The Armada SUV gained 35.5 percent and is up 109.9 percent for the year, with 15,347 units sold through October.
Nissan's Rogue crossover surged to a 48.7-percent gain and the recently flattening Murano midsize crossover posted a 2.2-percent improvement. The new and weird-but-loveable Juke subcompact crossover added a respectable 2,103 incremental sales.
Nissan's passenger-car business was led by a gain of 28.5 percent for the Altima midsize sedan, which quietly is closing in on 200,000 sales for the year, standing at 187,875 sales through October.
But the Altima was the only Nissan on the car side of the showroom to see a positive October. The Versa declined 10.9 percent, the Sentra dropped 3.3 percent, the Cube plunged 35.2 percent and the Maxima was down 16.3 percent. Meanwhile, the 370Z sportscar declined by 9.6 percent and the GT-R supercoupe was off by a thundering 60.7 percent.
Nissan's Infiniti premium unit posted an overall 22.9-percent improvement in October and year-to-date sales are up by 24.7 percent to 82,727 units.
The M midsize sedan lineup leaped 119.2 percent for the month and the EX and FX crossover posted respective gains of 34.1 percent and 7.9 percent. The new and controversially styled QX56 large SUV busted out with an 88.7-percent gain to 1,157 units in October.
Hyundai: Already Ahead of 2009 Total
Hyundai reported all-time record October sales, which totaled 42,656 units, up 38 percent from a year ago.
As of the end of October, Hyundai had sold 452,703 vehicles for the year, already exceeding full-year sales for 2009.
Hyundai said its fleet mix is running at 11 percent. For October, fleet sales were down 46 percent; retail sales were up 71 percent. For the year so far, retail sales are up 29 percent, Hyundai said.
"We were very encouraged by what appeared to be a general strengthening of the overall sales environment in October," said Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president of sales, Hyundai Motor America.
Hyundai sales continue to be driven by its volume-leader Sonata. Its sales soared by 125 percent to 17,505 units. Two more versions - a hybrid and one with a more-powerful turbocharged 4-cylinder - are yet to go on sale. Tucson sales rocketed by 260 percent to 3,051 units.
"The game-changing Sonata is red hot, once again outselling Altima, Fusion, and Malibu at retail," said Zuchowski.
The Elantra, in its last few months before being replaced in December, saw a 10-percent sales hike to 9,497 units. Also posting double-digit increases were the Genesis, up 28 percent to 2,375 units, and the Accent, up 17 percent to 5,372 vehicles. Genesis sales marked the 16th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases.
"As availability improves for Tucson and Santa Fe, coupled with the launch of turbo and hybrid versions of Sonata, we expect to continue to set sales records, elevate brand awareness and drive market share growth for the remainder of the fourth quarter," said Zuchowski.
In the next quarter, Hyundai goes to market with the all-new Equus flagship and a U.S.-built Elantra compact car.
Kia: A Record October
Kia Motors America set a new record for October sales. The Korean brand sold 31,199 vehicles in October, up nearly 39 percent from a year ago. October was the third record Kia set in the past four months, which comes on the heels of Kia's best quarter ever.
Kia sales were led for the 10th month in a row by the Sorento midsize crossover. Sorento sales, combined with sales of the newly redesigned 2011 Sportage, accounted for 80 percent of the brand's total volume in October. Broken down, Sorento sales totaled 10,609 units, up from a scant 1,154 a year ago; Sportage sales totaled 2,569, up from 1,146 from a year ago.
"Demand for Kia's first U.S.-built vehicle, the Sorento, remains extremely high, while the popularity of the all-new 2011 Sportage has outpaced supply since arriving in dealerships a few months ago," said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of KMA and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia.
The Forte and Soul pitched in with sales increases as well. Kia sold 6,137 Souls, up 197 percent from a year ago; and 5,754 Forte models, up 15 percent.
Kia introduces the promising 2011 Optima and a sporty five-door Forte in the coming months.
Subaru: On Track for Another Record Year
Another record year is in store for Subaru of America. The company actually increased sales during the 2009 recession to record levels - and this year it is topping that.
October sales of 22,720 vehicles were Subaru's best ever for the month and surpassed October 2009 sales by 25 percent. What's even more impressive is that Subaru is scoring ever higher sales without juicing them with incentives; month after month, it spends among the least on incentives among brands.
Driving overall results were record sales for the Outback (3,543 sold, up 9 percent), Forester (6,631 sold, up 28 percent); and Legacy (3,543 sold, up 9 percent). Subaru has been boosting production to meet the unprecedented demand for almost its entire lineup.
As of the end of October, Subaru was within a few hundred sales of setting a new annual record. So far this year, Subaru has sold 216,334 vehicles, a gain of 23 percent from last year.
"Our 618 Subaru retailers throughout the country again did an outstanding job efficiently turning their inventory and generating record sales," said Timothy M. Colbeck, senior vice president of sales, Subaru of America, Inc. "We had sales increases with our four core carlines. In addition, the launch of our new WRX and STI models has been a huge success - collectively up 50% compared to last October."
Volkswagen: New Jetta Boosts Bottomline
Volkswagen of America Inc., which has ambitious U.S. sales goals, increased October sales by nearly 18 percent from a year ago to 20,084 vehicles sold.
Its sales were paced by the just-introduced Jetta, which had its first full month of sales and its best sales month since 2005, with the exception of last year's Cash for Clunkers period. Volkswagen sold 11,958 in total of all Jetta models, up from 9,076 a year ago.
Volkswagen has taken heat for its price-reduced new Jetta, which critics charge the German automaker has cheapened too much in its effort to make it affordable to more customers. In addition to heavily advertising the Jetta's affordable price, Volkswagen is offering one of its biggest incentives ever for the nameplate; Edmunds.com estimates the average incentive on the Jetta was $2,551.
Also chipping into Volkswagen's total were higher sales of the Routan minivan, Golf and GTI. However, every other model showed a significant sales decline.
"Volkswagen continues to grow sales in all models and products through October," said Mark Barnes, VWoA's Chief Operating Officer. "It is good to see the all-new Jetta getting off to such a promising start and our TDI products continue to do well."
Daimler AG: Mercedes Steady; Smart Falls More
Daimler AG, including the Mercedes-Benz and smart brands, sold 19,443 vehicles in October, an increase of 3 percent from a year ago. Of that total, Mercedes sold 19,076 vehicles, an increase of 5 percent. Again in October, smart dragged the group down with sales of a mere 367 vehicles sold, down 45 percent from a weak October 2009.
Throughout the year, the E-Class and C-Class have see-sawed back and forth as Mercedes' volume leader. In October, the E-Class was the luxury brand's top seller with 5,568 sold, down 8 percent for the month but up 53 percent for the year. The C-Class followed with sales of 3,771, down 9 percent. The M-Class, as is typical, ranked third with sales of 2,826. Double-digit sales increases were posted by the S-, CL-, SLK-, CLK-, R-, G- and GL-Class.
On a year-to-date basis, Daimler has sold 189,577 vehicles, up 14 percent from a year ago. Of those, Mercedes vehicles account for 184,431, an increase of 20 percent.
Mazda: Stronger October Sales
Mazda North American Operations had a nearly 20 percent hike in October sales to 18,013 vehicles.
Mazda's SUVs are leading in sales increases. The CX-7 posted sales of 2,483 units in October, up 47 percent; CX-9 sales increased 57 percent to 2,497 vehicles. Year-to-date, CX-7 and CX-9 sales are up 47 percent and 43 percent respectively.
The Mazda3 remained the brand's volume leaders with sales up 15 percent to 7,745 vehicles. Doing its part was the Mazda5 with sales up 43 percent to 1,174 sold. Tribute sales were also up. The just-on-sale Mazda 2 kicked in 629 sales in the month.
But Mazda's sports cars - the MX-5 Miata and RX-8 - say another sales slide in the month. Mazda6 sales slipped 16 percent.
So far this year, Mazda has sold 192,783 vehicles, up 10 percent from the same period in 2009.
Audi: Headed for Best Year in History
Audi reported its best-ever October, putting it on pace to set an all-time sales record for the year. If Audi continues its current pace it will surpass its previous annual sales record set by in 2007 by selling 93,506 vehicles. So far this year, Audi has sold 66,876 vehicles, up 15 percent from last year.
"There is no denying that Audi is firing on all cylinders as we continue to set the pace as the benchmark for the luxury vehicle market," said Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen.
Audi's October sales rose nearly 11 percent to 8,128 vehicles sold, on the strength of the A3 (up 145 percent), Q5 (up 70 percent) and Q7 (up 20 percent).
Mitsubishi: Biggest Increase Since 2002
Mitsubishi had a 32-percent increase in October sales, its largest year-over-year percentage increase since July, 2002; it sold 5,111 vehicles in October, for the manufacturer's fourth highest monthly totals in the past two years.
The new Outlander takes most of the credit for Mitsubishi's improved performance - up 70 percent, although the automaker's other models also posted increases. Endeavor sales tripled; Lancers was up 52 percent, Galant 23 percent and Lancer Evolution, up 31 percent.
"It appears that our sales and marketing efforts are coming to fruition at just the right time," said MMNA President & CEO Shin Kurihara. "The coming months will see the first significant sales of our new Outlander Sport compact CUV, and interest in that vehicle should drive customers to our dealers and benefit our full product line."
New Jags, Land Rovers Boost Sales
Jaguar Land Rover reported October sales of 4,253 vehicles, a 40-percent increase from a year ago that came on the strength of its new models. Land Rover's LR4 sales shot up 169 percent; Jaguar got a largely from the XF sedan.
Land Rover sold 2,958 vehicles for a 37-percent increase. Jaguar sales rose 47 percent to 1,295 vehicles.
"In October we saw a marked increase in sales across both brands," said JLR NA President Gary Temple. "On the Jaguar side, the combination of our two sedans, the XF and XJ, combined with Jaguar Platinum Coverage continues to drive sales. While on the Land Rover side, the Range Rover Sport proves to be a volume leader for the fifth consecutive month, and the redesigned LR4 continues its impressive sales streak."
Year to date, Jaguar Land Rover North America sales are up 21 percent to 30,101 units.
Volvo: Sales Fall
Volvo Cars of North America was among only a few automakers to report a year-to-year sales decline in October. The Swedish brand sold 3,996 vehicles in October, a nearly 10-percent drop from October 2009.
Volvo is looking to the all-new 2011 S60 T6 sports sedan, which went on sale at the end of September, to bolster its fourth-quarter sales.
Year-to-date sales are down 12 percent to 45,114 vehicles sold.
Porsche: New Cayenne Pitches In Big Time
Porsche sales soared 61-percent to 2,647 vehicles sold in October, due to strong performances from its new Cayenne SUVs and the continued success of the Panamera sedan. October marked the sports car maker's second best month this year.
Sales of the new Cayenne totaled 1,139 units for its best single month total this year. The line expanded in September and, on Monday, Porsche began sales of its first hybrid, the Cayenne S hybrid.
Porsche sold 747 Panamera sedans in October, bringing the year's total to 6,312 so far. Boxster sales rose 36 percent; 911 sales were about even with a year ago.
For the year to date, Porsche's sales stand at 20,337 vehicles, a 28-percent increase from the same 2009 period.
Suzuki: First Increase in 27 Months
Suzuki is celebrating its first year-over-year sales increase in 27 months. October sales were up 17 percent to 2,043 units sold from last October. The Grand Vitara and Equator saw double-digit sales hikes; the Kizashi, which wasn't on sale a year ago, kicked in as well and gained 22 percent over September's performance.
Saab: Trying to Gain Traction
Fellow Swedish carmaker Saab actually saw an increase in sales. This October, Saab sold 741 vehicles, up from 513 a year ago when Saab was on the auction block by then-owner GM. Still, that's but a fraction of the number of Saabs in stock, which stood at 3,109 cars at the end of October.
Of the 741 vehicles sold, 548 were 9-3 models, of which there are 2,731 in inventory. The all-new 9-5 flagship showed a marked improvement in sales, climbing to 193 sales with only 378 in inventory. New owner, Dutch sports car maker Spyker, has been trying to get up to speed with production after Saab's factories were mothballed by GM.