In September, the happy news along automobile row was that the annualized sales rate was the best it had been so far this year, topping the 12-million-unit mark for the first time. In October, things were even a bit better. Two 12-million+ months in a row has auto executives hoping for a strong finish to the year. And Ford's Alan Mulally has gone on record predicting that 2011 could see 13 million new vehicles sold.
For our company-by-company look at October sales, we'll use year-ago comparisons. Overall, the industry was up by 13 percent over last year, which is slight improvement on the year-to-date increase. Anyone who posted a greater than 13 percent gain for October is running ahead of the pack, while those who didn't are lagging behind.
GENERAL MOTORS +13% (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC only)
General Motors saw its sales rise exactly in sync with the market overall. The news might have been happier with a better performance by volume-leader Chevrolet, but a gain is a gain.
The new Regal is catching up to the faltering Lucerne (-34%), while the LaCrosse (+37%) and Enclave (+53%) continue to vie for the top spot in the Buick lineup.
The CTS (+45%) is finally feeling the affects of the coupe and wagon additions. The SRX (+27%) continues to grow.
The Aveo had another huge month (+314%) but the biggest-volume cars, Malibu and Impala, were essentially flat, while Camaro (-38%) declined. The Equinox (+62%) continues to be a big winner, while the Silverado (+8%) managed a modest increase; of the trucks, only the Tahoe (-13%) declined.
There was good news all across the board for GMC, be it new entries (Terrain, +82%), old pickups (Canyon, +101%), or family-size crossovers that are neither new nor old (Acadia, +65%).