The first report on October sales from the US auto industry was a monster, with GM moving 258,626 vehicles off lots in the month, down 1.7% YoY but well above estimates of a decline in the neighborhood of 6% YoY. That print alone would put industry sales at seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18.695 million by our estimates, but to be clear it’s not likely the rest of the industry can sustain that sort of sales beat pace as they announce throughout the day. The second report saw Fiat-Chrysler announced a sales decline of 9.7% YoY versus -10% expected. The combined reading from GM and Fiat-Chrysler shows a sales pace just above 18mm SAAR, much stronger than the forecast of 17.6mm.
We will update our tracker as more companies report, but we should note that due to a fire in their headquarters, Ford will not be reporting sales figures today. Since Ford is about 15% of the market, the final tracking number will have to be asterisked.
Update 1 10:13 AM EST: With Nissan and Mazda reporting in the last 15 minutes, we’ve now gotten 42% of the industry’s figures. As shown, tracking is holding steady around 18mm SAAR. While sales are down double-digits since last October for two companies and lower for all reported companies, it might be confusing that SAAR is still coming in strong. Keep in mind, there were two fewer selling days this month, 26 instead of 28 in October 2015. That’s why the combined seasonal and day-trade adjustment for the industry as a whole is 91.37 by our estimate based on BEA figures for each class of car (NSA sales are bumped up by 8.63%) rather than the 96.24 (a seasonal and day-trade adjustment of 3.76%) last year. Keep this in mind when looking at headline sales figures only!
Update 2 11:02 AM EST: Hyundai and Volkswagen have now reported, bringing total market share reported up to 48%. Volkswagen continues to struggle with the fallout of its diesel engine emissions scandal, as sales dropped 18.5% YoY. Hyundai reported very strong results, and although they account for only 4.2% of market share they pushed tracking up over 150,000 SAAR with their 4.2% YoY sales gain. It’s also worth noting that if the current sales pace holds, October will have the highest US auto sales pace of the current expansion.
Update 3 2:07 PM EST: With 84.1% of the industry reported, US Auto SAAR is tracking 18.138mm for the month of October by our math. As we mentioned above, that comes with an asterisk. Ford suffered a fire at their headquarters and will not report sales figures today, so we have to go with analyst estimates for that company, which is about 15% of US market share. If we include analyst estimates for Ford, auto sales probably came in around 17.956mm SAAR versus 17.6mm expected. The difference between an in-line report and beat from Ford could be the difference between an auto sales record for this expansion (previously 18.02mm SAAR per Ward’s Auto, in October 2015) and a solid, above-estimates print that builds on a decent run from YTD lows in June.