Americans just can't seem to get enough new cars this year. Seven out of ten months with data so far recorded, the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate has surpassed 17 million units, and for the second month in a row, the industry topped the 18-million mark. At this point, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the United States will set a new record for new-vehicle sales in 2015.
As has been the case all year, trucks, sport utility vehicles, and crossovers led the sales charge in October. Land Rover, an automaker that exclusively sells off-road-capable vehicles, very nearly doubled sales when compared to the same month a year earlier. Volvo rode its new XC90, its best-seller for the month, to a second-place finish with an 87-percent gain. It was a similar story at Mazda, which saw the CX-5 crossover (9,264 units sold) take over from the Mazda3 (8,342) as its best-selling vehicle. Mazda's 35-percent sales boost narrowly edged out Jeep, which saw a 33-percent gain.
Although record sales may make headlines, all eyes were on Volkswagen last month. October marked the first full month of sales since news of the German automaker's diesel emissions scandal hit the masses. Interestingly, overall sales were flat at VW. Part of VW's relative success in the face of what appear to be stacked odds against it can be attributed to the Tiguan crossover. That model's 167-percent increase was enough to offset declines from most other nameplates.
Of the major full-line automakers, General Motors led the way, followed by FCA, Ford, Toyota, and Nissan, all of which saw double-digit increases last month.
A few more noteworthy data points:
- Fiat Chrysler's 15-percent gain marks the 67th consecutive month of sales increases for the automaker.
- Subaru managed its 47th consecutive month of increased sales and is on the way to a seventh consecutive year of record sales in the US.
- BMW leads cross-country rival Mercedes by a little more than 500 total units so far in 2015. Lexus had a good month in October, but it'll take two more big months if it's going to catch up.
- There were 27 selling days in September of 2015, which is one fewer than the same month a year ago.
As always, you're encouraged to peruse our past By The Numbers posts for all the sales data from previous months and years.
UPDATE: An error in our spreadsheet formulas led to the incorrect ordering of some automakers. These errors have been resolved and the text above has been updated. Thanks to all who pointed out the discrepancies!