Major automakers posted mixed U.S. new vehicle sales in October, but high-margin pickup truck, SUV and crossover sales were up. Fred Katayama reports.
Automakers posted mixed new vehicle sales in the U.S. in October. Ford's sales rose, driven by demand for its F-Series pickup trucks. General Motors reported an overall sales drop, but sales of its pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers were up. Fiat Chrysler reported a double-digit sales decline as it tries to cut low-margin sales to car rental agencies. But its sales of SUVs and pickups helped lift its North American profit margin. Edmunds' Jessica Caldwell. (SOUNDBITE) JESSICA CALDWELL, SENIOR ANALYST AND DIRECTOR OF PRICING AND INDUSTRY ANALYSIS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Auto sales in October are doing relatively well and we are seeing this as kind of as a trend as time has gone on. The fourth quarter of auto sales, automakers trying to get rid of their inventories, so they pump up incentives, allow it to be pretty good. We saw this in 2016, and it looks like 2017 is going to be shaping up to be similar. October will be a good month and, probably, with Black Friday deals, we'll see good months in November and December as well." Toyota's and Nissan's sales were up, with pickups, SUVs and crossovers leading the way. Honda bucked the trend with an increase in passenger car sales, which offset a decline in SUV sales.