Steel Markets

US Auto Sales up 10.4% Despite Government Shutdown

Written by Sandy Williams

U.S. automakers sales were up by 10.4 percent in October to 1.2 million vehicles.  Early October sales slowed during the government shutdown as customers waited to see how the fiscal standoff resolved, but auto sales picked up later in the month. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate fell slightly to 15.22 million, down from 15.26 million in September and from 16.1 million in September.

Of the big three Detroit automakers, General Motors had the biggest year-over-year gain in October at 16 percent and of 226,402 vehicles sold. Chrysler sales increased 11 percent to 140,083 units and Ford sales jumped 13.9 percent with 191,885 vehicles sold. The automakers reported strong sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Toyota sales rose 8.8 percent to 168,967 units.  Honda sales rose 7 percent to 14,538 units. Nissan sales jumped 14.2 percent to 91,018 units.  

South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia had a combined rise of 0.6 percent for October. Hyundai bettered their performance by 6.5 percent with sales of 53,555 units. Kia sales, however, slipped down 6.3 percent to 39,754 units.

Volkswagen of America sales fell 18 percent in October to 28,129 units. Volkswagen, however, expects annual sales to top 400,000 vehicles for the second consecutive year.

“We see the retail market remaining stronger for autos than other sectors, due to excellent credit availability, continued pent-up demand and the relative affordability of cars compared to other large household purchase decisions,” commented Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division at Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., in Friday’s conference call.

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