Despite a strong demand for pickups, U.S. auto sales fell 1.3% in October to 1.35 million light vehicles and trucks, according to Autodata Corp. However, sales rose in the last 12 months at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18.57 million units, the first year-on-year increase in 2017.
Ford F-Series sales surged 16% to 75,974 trucks. Overall the company’s deliveries increased 6.2% to 200,436 vehicles including fleet sales.
GM also had a strong pickup month as sales of the Chevrolet Silverado rose 6.8% to 53,157 units and the GMC Sierra up 25.5% to 18,895 vehicles.
At FCA, Ram pickup sales increased 1% to a monthly record of 44,201 units, but overall sales dropped 13% as a 43% cut in fleet sales offset the gain in light trucks.
Toyota's sales gained 1.1% as a 15.5% increase in sales of its trucks, SUVs and crossovers offset a 12.7% decline in passenger car sales. Sales of its RAV4 compact SUV soared 29%, outselling even Toyota's Camry sedan by nearly 8,000 units. The 4Runner SUV was up 30.6% to 11,153 vehicles.
Nissan U.S. sales were up 8.4% to 123,012 deliveries. While the company’s Nissan division saw sales jump 10.2%, the luxury Infiniti brand was down 8.1%. Sales of Nissan’s trucks, SUVs and crossovers were up 13%, and the Rogue compact SUV was up 43% to a record 30,286 units.
Honda posted strong sales for its Accord (4.7%) and Civic (15%) models while sales of Honda's only pickup truck, the Ridgeline, dropped 19.6% to 2,709 units. But the Pilot midsize SUV posted a 18.5% increase to 10,285 deliveries.
Unlike other automakers, Volkswagen's 11.9% improvement was driven by a 14.2% increase for its best-selling Jetta sedan. Consistent with the trend, its 2018 Tiguan compact SUV had a strong month with sales of 3,848, up from the previous model's 3,322 a year ago.