U.S. OCTOBER 2018 AUTO SALES: 5 highlights




Ferrari’s streak of consecutive, year-over0year monthly sales gains reached 94 in October.

U.S. auto sales edged up in October, which was not what analysts had expected. Here are five highlights from the month.

Dead-car bounce?

Anyone in the auto industry (as well as many casual observers in middle America) can tell you that light trucks have been outselling sedans — and it’s not even close. “Share for cars continues to decrease and has the momentum to fall below 28 percent soon,” Zo Rahim, research manager for Cox Automotive, said in a statement Thursday morning, before October results were announced. But the erosion of cars’ market share took a surprise breather, ticking back up 1 percentage point to 31%.

Don’t expect that to continue.

Tesla sold an estimated 18,000 Model 3s last month, helping spur an uptick from the previous month in car market share.

Surprising discipline on incentives

Even amid model-year changeovers, automakers seem to be exercising newfound discipline on discounting. Based on the first 17 of 26 selling days, incentives tracked downward in October as an average spend per vehicle slipped to $3,742, according to J.D. Power. The final number will probably rise from that initial estimate, said Tyson Jominy, senior director of automotive consulting and analytics at J.D. Power Information Network, but remain lower than a year ago, making October the fourth straight month of year-over-year declines.

Go figure.

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