Month after month, automakers can be counted on to release their sales numbers in a way you could set your watch to. Except for this one — a fire at Ford’s data center in Dearborn meant its numbers were released a day late. But now that we have them, we can take a look at October sales. And while the players may all look familiar, there are some big things going on.
After several years of explosive growth, the market is undeniably cooling. According to Cars.com, sales are down for the top seven best-selling automakers in the U.S. What’s more, virtually every segment — including the once red-hot compact crossover/SUV segment — stayed flat. The only major growth came in full-size truck-based SUVs (think Chevy Suburban), which was up 51.6%, and mid-size pickups (up 32.2%), suggesting that Ford has picked a pretty good time to reintroduce a new Ranger pickup for 2018.
So October’s top 10 list is an interesting one. It’s full of familiar faces (every model on the list has been here before), but there’s a lot of red ink and change on the wind.
10. Ford Escape
The 10-spot is usually the wildcard, and Ford’s compact crossover finds itself on the list for the second time this year, knocking off the Nissan Rogue, which held this space in September. Bolstered by the refreshed 2017 models hitting dealerships, Ford moved 23,505 Escapes last month, down 4.9% over September ’15. But with 258,269 sold year-to-date, sales are up by a barely-there 0.2%.
9. Honda Accord
As more Americans leave the midsize sedan for dead, the Accord continues to fall up and stay in the top 10. Despite 25,551 sales last month, October numbers are down 15.2% versus a year ago. With 284,170 sales on the year, Honda is selling 3.6% fewer Accords than it did in 2015.
8. Honda Civic
The Civic is a different matter. Yes, 26,359 sales goes in the books as another down month (5.1% to be exact), but a smart redesign has helped sales climb a healthy 11.7% for the year. Honda has sold 310,142 Civics in 2016, but it remains to be seen if the company can keep things up after Consumer Reports yanked the car off its recommended list.
7. Toyota RAV4
Like the Civic, the Toyota RAV4’s October was a case of good-news-bad-news. The bad news is: Compared to October 2015, RAV4 sales were down 6.5%, with 26,429 crossovers leaving the lots. Now here’s the good news: Year-to-date sales are up a full 12%, with 286,809 sold through the end of the month.
6. Toyota Camry
If it weren’t for the 29,562 sales in October, you’d think the Toyota Camry was a sinking ship. October sales are down a full 15.0%. Most automakers would drool at the prospect of selling 327,015 examples of a single model in the first 10 months of a year. But since this is the midsize sedan segment, that adds up to a worrying 9.4% loss on the year.
5. Toyota Corolla/iM
It’s a different story with the compact Corolla. Scion is officially dead and gone, and the iM hatch is now integrated into the Corolla lineup. That little boost amounted to 29,736 October sales, a 1.3% increase over October ’15. At 318,737 sales through the end of the month, the numbers are up 3.0%.
4. Honda CR-V
Honda’s compact crossover has had a stellar year. Thanks to the all-new 2017 model hitting the lots, the CR-V has been a top-five best-seller since July. Honda sold 30,306 units in October, a 4.4% increase over October ’15 numbers. All told, its moved 293,799 of them through the end of the month, a 1.8% bump over last year.
3. Ram Pickup
We now enter the Overlook Hotel portion of the list, where the top three have always been here. After moving up to the two spot in September, the full-size Ram pickups have settled back into number three, where they’ve spent the rest of 2016. A 40,202 sales month is nothing to sneeze at, but compared to a year ago, that’s a 0.3% slide. Overall, 308,970 sales on the year amounts to a 4.6% increase over 2015.
2. Chevrolet Silverado
Chevy had another month where it fell forward. It’s back in the two spot, but its October numbers (52,408 trucks) were down 4.8% compared to a year ago. Despite a facelift for 2016, 380,176 to-date sales amounts to a 1.8% loss.
1. Ford F-Series
If there was any doubt, the Ford F-Series is still the best-selling vehicle in America, just like it has been virtually every month since Ronald Reagan was in office and Thriller topped the charts. Sales were up a mere 0.1% increase over October ’15, but that’s still translates to 65,542 trucks. Overall, 661,198 F-Series’ have sold in 2016, a 5.0% increase over 2015.