The auto industry posted the strongest October sales in ten years—and even longer for some U.S. companies. The industry is capitalizing on low interest rates and low fuel prices across the U.S. to drive record sales.
GM, the largest U.S. auto maker, posted a 15.9 percent increase from October 2014. GM’s strongest sales were in its pickup trucks and SUVs. Ford Motor also reported double digit gains over last October, selling 213,938 vehicles in October. This represents a 13 percent increase, and is Ford Motor’s best October sales performance since 2004. Fiat Chrysler USA similarly posted a 15 percent increase over last October, racking up its best October sales since 2001. Like GM, both Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler USA showed strong growth in SUVs and pickup trucks.
Other auto makers also posted strong gains in U.S. sales, with Toyota Motor Corp. up 13 percent, Honda Motor Co up 9.3 percent, and Nissan Motor Co up 12.5 percent over last October. The outlier was Volkswagen of America, which reported a gain of only 0.24 percent over last year amid the ongoing emissions issues.
At this rate, the U.S. auto industry could post record sales for 2015. GM is on pace to sell 17.8 million units in 2015, which would topple its 1999 record. The industry will be keeping a close eye on the impact of any interest rate changes during the remainder of the year, as well as fuel prices heading into the holidays.