As anyone in the vast area affected by Hurricane Sandy could have guessed, the sprawling super-storm had a major dampening effect on new-vehicle sales. Consumers had other things on their mind, and flooding and power outages also kept buyers out of showrooms. As a result, the new-vehicle sales rate, which had been steaming along in the high end of the 14-million-unit range, dropped down to 14.3 million units. Industry totals for the month still managed a 7% increase over 2011 -- not bad, but not as good as September's 13% increase. Some industry watchers, however, see a silver lining for auto sales in the Sandy-related destruction: All those cars and trucks ruined by flood waters or crushed by falling trees will have to be replaced, which could mean that what Sandy taketh away in October, she could giveth in November.
OCTOBER 2012 SALES RESULTS, AND PERCENT CHANGE VERSUS OCTOBER 2011
GENERAL MOTORS +5%
GM was only slightly off the industry's pace in October, as all four divisions did better than last year, particularly at Cadillac and Buick where new entries helped turn the tide.
Small cars continue to do well at Chevrolet, lead by the Sonic (+43%) and the Cruze (+34%); the Volt again came close to 3000 units, while the Spark topped 2000. Trucks did better than last month, with the Silverado able to notch a small gain (+6%) in the selloff ahead of the new version, but several big utilities declined: Tahoe (-30%), Traverse (-25%), and Suburban (-23%).
The Canyon's sales roller coaster headed downhill in October (-39%), and the Yukon declined as well. But the franchise Sierra was up (+9%), as was the freshened Terrain (+15%), the big vans (+15%), and the Acadia (+12%).
The Verano is what's pulling Buick ahead, as the Regal slides (-36%) and the LaCrosse and the Enclave stagnate.
The XTS outsold the falling CTS (-40%) for the first time, and the ATS added 1266 units to the brand's total. On the truck side, the Escalades' decline was just about offset by an increase for the SRX.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY +0%
Ford remained flat in October, as Ford division's wafer-thin increase was wiped out by Lincoln's decline.
The F-series was huge again in October, its 56,000-plus sales just topping September's total. The new C-Max rang in with 3182 sales, and the Focus enjoyed a big month (+48%). But there was bad news as well. The Fusion (-30%), still in the midst of a model changeover, was way down; the Expedition, like many big utilities, was down (-22%); and the departure of the Ranger and the Crown Victoria also hurt.
Lincoln fell further in October, and we can no longer blame the decline on the loss of the Town Car. The MKS (-29%), the MKZ (-17%), and the MKX (-9%) together were a much bigger factor.
TOYOTA MOTOR SALES +16%
Toyota's year-over-year increase again handily outpaced the industry. The increase, however, wasn't as huge as it has been, perhaps because last October's Toyota sales weren't as bad the preceding months.
Another big month for the Camry (+36%) kept it in the number-one spot among passenger cars, and the number three nameplate overall. The Corolla/Matrix (+29%) has shown incredible longevity, but the Yaris (-62%) is fading fast. The expanded Prius family continues to grow sales (+52%), and both the Tundra (+25%) and the Tacoma (+20%) did well this month.
Lexus volumes seem to have settled out. The new ES and the new GS continue to post large year-over-year increases, but the RX is essentially flat, and the LS and the CT are down.
Scion's nearly 50% volume increase owes a lot to the FR-S, but the iQ helped quite a bit as well. Among the other models, the xD popped (+36%) while the tC dropped (-14%).