In some ways, the 0.4% growth in sales in October brought more of the same in the US market – a month where sales fell, relative to the same period in 2017, has been followed by a month where sales increased. However, this continuing trend masks a shift in the market’s fortunes that has occurred over the course of 2018 – while in the first half of the year months of falling sales were more than compensated for by months when sales grew, in the second half the opposite has been true, with declines in “down” months far outweighing the weak recoveries in “up” months such as October. With YTD growth unchanged at just 0.6% since last month, it would take just one more performance like in September to move the YTD figure into the red.
Six out of the Top 10 brands registered positive sales growth in October, up from four in September, but lower than seven in August
For a third month in a row the two brands with the fastest growth in the Top 10 were FCA brands, Ram and Jeep, the difference this time being that it was the former that saw its sales grow by double digits, giving the brands its highest ever ranking of eight in the standings
Just outside of the Top 10 Dodge once again registered growth of around 40%, pushing the brand back into black in YTD sales
In addition to Dodge, a few other mainstream brands outside of the Top 10 saw their sales rise: this included the usual suspects Volkswagen and Mitsubishi, but also unexpectedly Chrysler, making October a very good month indeed for FCA
From among the mainstream brands that lost sales in October the ones worth pointing out are Mazda, which after a good run in the first half of the years seems to have lost a lot of steam, and Mini, whose poor performances have now pushed it firmly into YTD sales loss territory, a very poor outcome for a brand with such a new portfolio of cars
Among luxury brands, the big news was that Tesla‘s sales fell by over 40% compared to September, putting the brand once again behind its main competitors, while Audi‘s remarkable 9-year run of positive month-on-month sales gain came to a screeching halt with a 17.3% decline in sales
Relative to Tesla and Audi, the other leading luxury brands, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus, all had an uneventful October and registered very moderate sales increases and declines
By comparison, October was once again a bad month for Lincoln, Jaguar and Maserati, although their travails pail in comparison to the almost-80% sales collapse at Genesis (and that is despite the new G70 going on sale in October)
Among the exclusive brands Bentley once again saw its sales fall, putting the brand within spitting range of 2018’s star performer, McLaren
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