Several automakers cited lower gas prices as part of the reason for strong October sales.
"Everyone knows that truck and SUV sales benefit when gas prices fall," said Jessica Caldwell, an Edmunds senior analyst. "But lower gas prices are actually a tide that floats all ships. When shoppers are paying less at the pump, they have more money in the bank to save up on big purchases. So while gas prices certainly breathe extra life into the Tahoes and Range Rovers of the world, the wealth effect is just as likely to motivate shoppers to pull the trigger on all vehicles big and small."
Chrysler sales were up 22 percent compared with sales in October 2013, while Nissan posted a 15 percent year-over-year increase in October.
Chrysler's results were "driven in part by sales of our all-new Jeep Cherokee and Chrysler 200 midsize sedan and by the strong consumer demand for our award-winning Ram pickup trucks," said Reid Bigland, Chrysler head of U.S. sales, in a statement on Monday.
Sales of the Chrysler 200 were up 40 percent compared with the same month a year ago.
Nissan Rogue crossover sales set an October record at 14,685, an increase of 14 percent. Sales of the Nissan Leaf electric car also set an October record, with 2,589 sales for an increase of 29 percent.
At General Motors, sales edged up slightly in October, as GM dealers delivered 226,819 vehicles in the U.S.
Sales of the Cadillac CTS rose 49 percent and sales of the Buick Encore were up 33 percent.
"The U.S. economy has steadily improved all year and now we are poised for a stronger expansion backed by an improved job market, higher consumer confidence and lower fuel prices," said Kurt McNeil, GM's U.S. vice president of sales operations, in a statement.
Toyota cited a "successful launch" of the 2015 Toyota Camry in its October report. Toyota, Scion and Lexus sales increased 7 percent in October. The Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Highlander SUVs set October sales records.
"October vehicle sales were the best for the month in 10 years as an improving economy and lower gas prices drove strong SUV sales," said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, in a statement.
American Honda Motor Co. said sales rose 6 percent in October compared to a year ago. The 2015 Honda CR-V crossover, which arrived at Honda dealerships on October 1, was a major part of Honda's sales increase, the automaker said.
Ford Motor Co. said U.S. sales were down 2 percent from a year ago. "Overall sales declines were expected and tied to the plant changeover for the `introduction of the all-new 2015 F-150," Ford said in a statement.
However, the Ford Fusion midsize sedan turned in a strong October performance and is on track to break the 300,000-vehicle market this year for the first time ever. Lincoln posted a 25 percent gain on the strength of such products as the 2015 Lincoln MKC SUV.
Edmunds says: Automakers head into the remaining weeks of the year powered by strong momentum, thanks to car shoppers who continue to crowd showrooms.