Months of high interest rates and higher payments slowed consumer enthusiasm for new vehicles in October, but sales remained strong enough for automakers to post gains.
Asian automakers continued to post positive sales results in the U.S. last month at Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Kia all saw upticks.
American Honda led the way with at 32.6% increase in October. Honda division sales rose 33.9% while its Acura luxury division jumped 22.1% for the month. The company’s electrified vehicles continued a blistering pace, accounting for a quarter of all new vehicle sales. In fact, 55% of CR-Vs sold last month were hybrids.
Honda’s Ridgeline pickup remains a hit with buyers, up 11.2% on a year-over-year basis. It’s on track to set a new sales record in 2023, officials noted.
Toyota saw its October sales rise 4.5%, with its luxury brand Lexus helping to drive part of that increase with a 24.7% leap during the spookiest month of the year. Toyota division sales were up slightly, 1.8%, as it dealt with declines in some of its popular models, like the Prius, Camry, RAV4 and Tacoma, due to low inventories.
South Korean brands
Kia America’s been on a roll for more than a year and nothing changed in October. The brand’s sales jumped 30% compared to last October, pushing its streak of months of year-over-year growth to 15. EV models jumped 83% with the new EV6 leading the pack.
Among its gas-powered models, the Rio, Forte, K5, Telluride and Carnival all enjoyed improvements, and even the vehicles that were “in the red” were only marginally below the previous year’s numbers.
“Kia’s ability to consistently increase year-over-year monthly sales for 15 months in a row is a testament to our ability to provide consumers with a world-class lineup that caters not only to sedans and SUVs but also electric models,” said Eric Watson, vice president, sales operations, Kia America.
“We anticipate surpassing our 2022 full-year sales by mid-November, putting us on track to achieve a record-breaking annual sales performance for 2023.”
Hyundai also celebrated 15 consecutive months of year-over-year improvements with its electrified models leading the charge. Hyundai set total sales records in October for Elantra HEV (+15%), IONIQ 5 (+89%), Santa Fe HEV (+81%), Tucson PHEV (+170%) and Tucson HEV (+14%).
“Hyundai is rolling into November with momentum and our proven Winter Sales Event promotion and strong marketing support starts now. We’re confident we are going to finish 2023 with all-time record performance,” said Randy Parker, CEO of Hyundai Motor America.
Subaru of America on the other hand saw its strong 2023 carry on with a 10.7% rise led by its traditionally strong sellers: Outback, Forester and Legacy. They got some support from the Solterra, which moved at a record pace, and WRX’s 52.9% compared to year-ago numbers.
“October was a resounding success with our fifteenth consecutive month of sales increases, a testament to the strength of Subaru vehicles, retailers and values,” said Jeff Walters, president and chief operating officer, Subaru of America Inc.
Mazda faced a tough October, sales dropping 7.2%, although its year-to-date numbers are up 23%. The Mazda3 was down 20.6% year-over-year while crossovers like the CX-30 and CX-5 fell about 13% combined.