U.S. Automakers Post October Sales Gains

October auto sales were mostly positive, showing strong year-over-year growth in most cases. General Motors (NYSE:GM) kicked off today’s industry reports with a bang, announcing its 19th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

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“Despite the volatility that continues in the market, we continue to believe that the U.S. economy will grow slowly, which will continue to help release the pent-up demand created by four years of below-trend sales,” said Don Johnson, head of GM sales. “That’s what has been happening so far this year, and we do expect that it’s going to continue into next year.”

Toyota (NYSE:TM) wasn’t quite so lucky, as the automaker continues to claw its way back from supply shortages following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, but fortunately for the U.S. economy, Toyota was more the exception than the rule today.

Here’s your cheat sheet to U.S. October car sales:

  • Kia Motors America said Tuesday that October sales rose 21% to 37,690 units, with the Optima, Soul and Sportage models leading the way. This year through October, Kia has sold 405,095 vehicles, up from 299,223 in the first 10 months of 2010.
  • Hyundai Motor America said on Tuesday that it sold 52,402 vehicles in the U.S. in October, up 23% from October 2010. So far this year, it has sold 545,316 units, more than it did in all of 2010 and already a full-year sales record. Among the models showing exceptional growth were the Elantra, Santa Fe, and Tucson.
  • Nissan North America said on Tuesday it sold 82,346 vehicles in the U.S. in October, up 18% from 69,773 in October of last year. Its Nissan Division set a new October record, with a 22.1% sales increase, while its Infiniti unit saw vehicle sales slump 13.5%. The Versa sedan, the Nissan Altima, and the Rogue crossover were among the company’s best-selling models.
  • Mercedes-Benz USA said on Tuesday that October sales in the U.S. grew 28% to 24,449 vehicles — a record volume for that month. Sales were driven by the C-Class model, which saw an 88% increase in sales from October 2010. Sales of the CLS-Class more than doubled, while sales of the SLK Roadster rose 58.2%. Mercedes-Benz USA has sold 206,632 vehicles this year to date, a 12% increase from the first 10 months of 2010.
  • Audi said on Tuesday that it experienced record October sales of 10,225 vehicles in the U.S., up from 8,128 in the same month a year ago. This year through October, Audi sales are up 16.5% to 95,206. The automaker has managed record sales for 14 of the last 15 months. Audi is a unit of Volkswagen.
  • Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) said on Tuesday that October U.S. sales rose 6% from the same month last year to 167,803 cars and trucks, with sport utility vehicles like the Explorer and Escape making a strong showing. Ford said it is now on track to add one percentage point to its U.S. market share this year, which would make for three consecutive years of gains.
  • General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) said on Tuesday that October U.S. sales rose 1.9% from a year ago to 186,895 vehicles, with strong showings from the Chevrolet Equinox, Camaro, and Cruze. The Chevrolet Volt also had its best month yet, with 1,100 units shipped to showrooms. However, Chevrolet was the only of four GM brands to post year-over-year improvements. Cadillac sales fell almost 12%.
  • Chrysler Group LLC, controlled by Italy’s Fiat, reported Tuesday a 27% surge in October U.S. sales to 114,512 vehicles, marking the 19th straight month of year-over-year gains. The namesake Chrysler brand led the way, posting the highest percentage increases in the lineup and notching its best October showing since 2007. The Jeep brand also fared well, helped by the new compact SUV Compass as well as the Wrangler.
  • Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) said Tuesday that U.S. sales fell 7.9% in October to 134,046, down from 145,474 during the same quarter last year. Sales of the Camry, Toyota’s best-selling vehicle, declined 11.9% to 22,043 vehicles, and sales of the Corolla fell 12.8% to 16,244 vehicles.

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