By on November 23, 2015


Surely Volkswagen of America, tarnished by daily revelations related to its September diesel emissions scandal, would report an October sales decrease, right?

No, as we discussed earlier this month, incentives and a booming market helped Volkswagen to an October sales increase — of 74 extra sales.

In October 2015, industry-wide sales jumped 14 percent to more than 1.45 million units with above-average improvements from General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Hyundai-Kia.

Further to those results, these are the numbers behind the numbers.

5 x 10K: October marked the fifth occasion in 2015 — the fifth in the last 40 months — in which Ford sold more than 10,000 Mustangs in a single month. October’s total was just the fifth-highest achieved this year so far, but we’ve long since left prime Mustang buying season as the car is traditionally stronger in the spring and early summer. Prior to the Camaro’s return, Ford was selling nearly 14,000 Mustangs per month in 2006. The Blue Oval is averaging 10,632 in 2015.

7,313: October 2015 was not the best-ever month for Subaru USA’s Impreza-based XV Crosstrek — now simply called Crosstrek. That was August, when 8,799 copies were sold, breaking the one-month-old record from July. Subaru did, however, sell 7,313 XV Crosstreks in October 2015, a 36-percent year-over-year improvement. What’s so strange about that? They sold 7,414 XV Crosstreks in September. It’s going to get all kinds of creepy if they sell 7,212 XVs in November.

149 > 86: Remember all the kerfuffle created by BMW’s Ian Robertson when he questioned the future of the sports car market? It’s not much wonder Robertson took note of the crisis — BMW’s once-powerful Z4 is a nearly forgotten entity now. Only 1,495 Z4s were sold in America in the first ten months of 2015. (BMW sold more than 20,000 Z4s in 2003.) You know you’re semi-affordable roadster is approaching new levels of rarity, however, when sales plunge 57 percent to only 86 units in October, not even six-tenths the total achieved by your $136,500 hybrid supercar, the i8.

One-Two: A plant shutdown in Windsor, Ontario was deemed necessary earlier this year to enable next-generation retooling for FCA’s minivans. As a result, for much of 2015, the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan have struggled for much of the year. In October 2015, however, for the first time since October 2014, the two FCA minivans finished one-two in monthly minivan sales results. Together, they owned 51 percent of the minivan market last month.

2015 Lancer Evolution Final Edition

169: For the first time, the October Mitsubishi sales release distributed to us included sales figures for the Lancer Evolution, a soon-to-depart WRX STI fighter. 169 Lancer Evos were sold last month; 1,959 have been sold so far this year. Mitsubishi had sold only 2,351 Evos at this point last year. Subaru sold more than 3,000 WRXs and STIs in October.

Quartet: Cadillac currently sells four different passenger car nameplates: ATS, CTS, XTS, and ELR. Together, those four cars will likely attract fewer than 70,000 buyers in calendar year 2015. Times, and tastes, have changed. Cadillac sold nearly 85,000 DeVilles in 2002.

Quadruple: Land Rover continues to be an automaker fueled very much in the United States by its most expensive nameplates. But the brand has quickly become more effective at the entry-level end of the lineup. 1,356 Discovery Sports were sold in October, more than four times the monthly average (between 2008 and 2014) achieved by its predecessor, the LR2.

40%: Mazda produced one of the industry’s most significant year-over-year percentage increases in October, a 35-percent jump to 25,451 sales. Subtract the discontinued 2 and 5 from the equation, however, and the gains produced by every other Mazda nameplate resulted in a 40-percent uptick.


34: Toyota reported the first deliveries of its hydrogen-powered sedan in the U.S. in October. 34 Mirais found homes last month, a paltry number which will surely grow in the very near future. The vehicles that sold less often than the Mirai in its first abbreviated month of limited availability were mostly discontinued models: Q40, Paceman, Avenger, Cube, XK, iQ, and TSX, to name a few.

2,565: U.S. sales of the Volvo XC90 climbed in October to the highest level since December 2007. Not only did XC90 sales soar, the Volvo flagship was once again the best-selling Volvo in America.

+139: Combined, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Maserati sold 1,425 cars in the United States. That’s 139 more sales than the Fiat 500 managed. 500 sales plunged 54 percent in October 2015. At this time last year, the 500 outsold its Italian cousins by more than two-to-one.

4X: October was the fourth consecutive month in which Americans purchased and leased more than 200,000 pickup trucks. Eight out of every ten trucks sold last month were full-size pickups from Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, and Ram.

304%: The Kia K900 remains an extremely rare car, even by the standards of full-size luxury. But K900 volume over the last four months has quadrupled from 352 units between July and October 2014 to 1,424 units in the same period this year. Hyundai reported 774 Equus sales over the last four months.

2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus

500 > 500: A Papal bump? Not so much. Not unpredictably, October sales of the Fiat 500L took a 68-percent dive to only 293 units one month after Pope Francis saw the sights from the back of a 500L. The Pope’s visit had nothing to do with the 500L’s drop — 500L sales were in freefall before his visit. Instead, blame the 500X, which achieved its highest sales yet in October. The 500X’s 2,178-unit total was 47-percent higher than the 500L’s best ever monthly U.S. sales performance.

5 Triple Seven: American Honda reported 5,777 Acura TLX sales in October 2015, the highest monthly total yet for the TL and TSX-replacing sedan. Only two premium brand cars, the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, sold more often than the TLX last month. Acura last averaged more than 5,500 monthly TL/TSX sales in 2010 and last sold more than 5,000 TLs and TSXs in a single month in August 2012.

24,725: General Motors sold more Malibus in October 2015 than at any point since June 2012. In June 2012, during the transition from the seventh to the eighth-generation iteration, the Malibu was America’s second-best-selling car. Now, as GM launches the ninth-gen Malibu, a clear-out of leftover eighth-gen Malibus is causing a volume explosion.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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30 Comments on “October 2015 Fact Sheet: The U.S. Auto Sales Numbers You Need To Know That You Didn’t Know Already...”

  • avatar

    That reminds me. I’m going to be shortly taking back in trade a 500L Pop I dumped a customer in that didn’t really want one. Damn it.

  • avatar

    Anyone getting the idea that automakers have forgotten what their customers want? Look at Cadillac: four different models that COMBINED sell less than a single model back in 2002. Their re-imaging has backfired on them. And look at some of the others… when they sell big, they sell really big; when they sell small, they sell really small.

    Too many cars today have become too much like their competitors. It’s getting to the point that you can’t really tell them apart any more. Maybe it’s time to look at making cars more visually different in shape and giving the customer what they really want, instead of what you think they want.

    • 0 avatar

      Well if you meant nice hatchbacks and wagons with manual transmissions, then yes they forgot about me.

      • 0 avatar

        Fred, yes, its quite a shame that Ford doesnt offer regular and sporty hatches today like the Focus and Fiesta (inc. STs), and Hyundai doesnt have the Veloster, and Honda isnt about to bring us a 5 door Civic to compliment the Fit and CRZ hatches they dont sell here. Hard to believe the Sonic, Versa Note and Spark dont offer manuals, and there are no truly basic cheap hatches like the Mirage that Mitsubishi isnt offering. Wouldnt it be great if there were some Euro hatches we could buy? Like, maybe a new Mini, Fiat 500, VW Golf and New Beetle, etc?

        If only we went back to the days of Metros, Aspires, Escorts and Shadows. Such is life.

        The only hatches we are really missing are the 3 door versions of mainstream models like the Fords and Hondas.

      • 0 avatar

        Well Fred, you come close. I personally prefer the old-school hatch of the late 60s, before they became hard-edged flimsy boxes and while they still only two real doors. Sure, you can buy a “sport coupe” today; the Mustang, Challenger and even the Camaro, but they all carry their own insurance stigma–that they’re going to be driven fast and hard most of their lives. To them, if it only has two doors, it’s a sporter yet back in the 60s you could get a full-sized car with only two doors and it was considered a “personal luxury car”. Yes, I do understand those long doors made it more difficult getting in and out in tight parking spaces (that are getting tighter all the time.) That’s ok. Give me two full doors and two ‘half’ doors like the Saturn Ion or the passenger side of the Veloster or even the Mazda RX8. 99% of the time those rear doors will never be opened by someone like me and the styling will say, “I’m NOT a ‘family man.\'” Yes, I’m married. My three ‘children’ all have paws–two cats and a dog. I simply don’t need and don’t WANT four full doors, I don’t care what model you look at. I simply don’t like the lack of choice we’re given today.

    • 0 avatar

      I dont know if cars today are too much like each other, but if so, that certainly isnt new. All full size American cars in the 60s-70s looked incredibly similar to each other. Alternating between side-by-side headlights, stacked head lights, and terrible hidden headlamps was about the extent of the visual changes. They wernt all copies of each other, but they were all extremely similar. Even small cars of the 70s for example were very similar. A B210 hatch and a Corolla liftback were very similar in profile, the Pinto and Vega as well.

      To say nothing of the 1940s and previous decades dating back to the dawn of the automobile. An untrained eye couldnt tell the difference between a 1947 Ford, Plymouth or Chevrolet. Almost all cars dating from that period on back to the brass era were pretty much shaped exactly the same, most looked like they were cast from the same mold, though were actually unrelated to each other.

      By contrast, one can easily spot the differences in a new Malibu vs. Accord vs. Fusion. Their profiles may be somewhat similar, but there is greater visual distinction now than in “the good old days”.

      Even related models like Optima and Sonata, Fusion and MKZ, and XTS and Impala look much more different today than their equivilents did 20-30 years ago. Compare a Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz. A slightly different roof, grille and tail lamps were the only real distinctions. Same with Spirit, Acclaim and LeBaron sedan (only same roof), as with the cars that replaced these examples in the mid 90s. If you took the grille off of a 1998 Contour and a Mystique, you cant tell one from the other. Not true with a Fusion and MKZ, Optima/Sonata, etc. Youd pretty much have to strip them down to nearly a bare chassis to find such similarities.

      If anything, given how many choices we have today, its a wonder more cars dont look like copies of each other. Even with a passing resemblence (like the 2017 MKZ and newer Jaguars), people claim one copied the other. I dont think so, I believe that it IS getting harder to make cars truly different from every other model out there, but I dont think claiming “all cars are the same” just yet is justified.

      Look at how people tend to react when something REALLY different comes along such as the Aztec, 1996 Taurus, Juke, Cube, Element, etc. Some love them, but the average Joe-shmoe rejects them and buys something bland and derivitive like a Camry, CR-V, etc.

      About Cadillac. If they wouldve kept building nothing but 300 hp FWD land barges that blow head gaskets only on days that end in “y”, you think theyd be better off today? I dont know about you, but I would certainly take an ATS or CTS over a early 2000s preacher’s wife’s car.

      • 0 avatar

        Average begets average, JohnT. You claim those modern cars are so distinctive but you yourself admit that their profiles are nearly identical. Even in the 70s the profiles were different enough that you could usually tell a Chevy from a Pontiac from an Oldsmobile. You could tell a Ford from a Mercury–though more by the shapes of the nose and tail caps than the body itself. Now even the nose and tail are nearly identical in profile, with the differences more in the shape of the grill and tail lamps. The few really distinct cars are considered outlandish and are shunned by the “average populace” yet they still prove remarkably popular apparently because of their differences. The Nissan Juke, the Jeep Cherokee, other models that use unusual head- and marker-lamp placement attract the eye and say, “I’m not your average CUV.”

        It takes time to change public mores. They are changing even now and before too long we’ll see cars again become more distinctive–more recognizable for what they are from a longer distance away. Why? Because many of the cars which became famous and popular through their distinctive appearances have effectively died because of their generic sameness. Four models of Cadillac can’t sell as many units as a single deVille model less than 15 years ago. Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Mercury and specific models from nearly every brand have disappeared from the markets because they became almost indistinguishable from their parent-company brethren. People are starting to get tired of the sameness. Those in the ‘rat race’ don’t care because to them a car is ‘simply transportation’; but to those whom feel a car is also an expression of their personality the choice becomes very limited to either high-priced luxo-cruisers or ‘economical’ niche models.

        It’s funny, you know. One person I know has a collection of Corvettes that he drives from on occasion. His daily driver? A Smart4two.

  • avatar

    Ha ha… goofy 500 photo.. world’s first top-loading oven! And how cleverly they’ve hidden the controls!

  • avatar

    Looks like Chevy is carrying over its leftover previous-gen Cruzes and Malibus as the 2016 “Cruze Limited” and “Malibu Limited”, even as those namplates get all-new models. Just checked the dealership nearest me; they don’t have any brand-new Cruzes or Malibus, but plenty of “Limiteds.”

    The Volt also had its best month since August 2014, probably because the new one is out and it’s almost definitely better in every way (I’ve only seen one on the road, but it looks good).

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The relative surge in K900 sales is probably due to deep discounting by Kia. A search just now showed that some K900s are being discounted up to 33%, and that’s before negotiation.

    Getting a $60k car for less than $40k is pretty sweet. Basically, Kia is paying for the depreciation these things have.

  • avatar

    Glad to see the TLX gaining steam. Jumbled infotainment aside it’s a good car. Better than the TSX and TL it replaced IMO. I don’t think the ILX is as bad as people are making it out to be either. I think with time and turbocharging they will recapture the volume of the TSX/TL in their collective prime.

    Still hoping for an ILX with the 2.0T and a stickshift. SH-AWD would ice the cake but I would be OK with FWD + LSD.

  • avatar

    Toyota’s Mirai will only be available to a select few, in a few select locations, and that is a shame! I would like to have a Mirai as a “hey-look-at-me-vehicle!” because it is unique, ahead of its time, and innovative, but there are no Hydrogen fueling stations anywhere near me. SOL.

  • avatar

    Three-year-old FIAT 500s with low miles sell around here for under $10k.

    Having driven one, I can see why. They redefine the term “disposable car”.

  • avatar

    Excellent presentation!

  • avatar

    As one who drives a 2-seat roadster, BMW lost me with Z4, first because the Z3 replacement was terminally ugly, and then in the second generation, because it turned into a boulevardier. The SLK is a much more impressive car. And if one’s taste tends to a sports car, the Boxster ensures that there is no reason to buy the Z4.

  • avatar

    Wouldn’t mind a K900 as my next car. You can pretty much pick one up lightly used with 5k miles on it fully loaded for 36k. Unfortunately Kia new on the lot is still trying to get you to buy it for 60 when the sticker says 65. The 2 local Kia dealerships only have 2 each on the lot.

  • avatar

    Really cool article. I liked this a lot.

    It seems Caddy needs to quit marketing to young people and focus on their real demo: Old people.

    Probably be best to… Yes I will say it: cut the ATS, cut the CTS, focus on the XTS and a SRX replacement. Get a smaller SRX and a Traverse based 3 row as well.

    Count the money, and repeat with new models in 3-5 years.

    • 0 avatar

      You advertise to young people to sell to the old ones. My issue is the advertising target demo seem to be tools… do ordinary people who aspire to Cadillac still exists or were they all converted into dbags?

    • 0 avatar

      You’re right; very few people want a Cadillac M3 that specialises in track times. But lots of people want a Cadillac luxury (or even semi-luxury) car at the right price.

      Throwing Z06 engines into family saloons is not really a recipe for attracting tools, most of which are Euro brand snobs anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Cadillac needs to innovate instead of copying its German rivals if it wants to succeed. The models it copied have not sold well, the models it offered which the Germans do not field a direct equivalent or do not seriously compete against (a transverse CUV, a mid size transverse Sedan, a big honkin’ SUV) have been a relative success.

        • 0 avatar

          “Cadillac needs to innovate instead of copying its German rivals if it wants to succeed.”

          Yeah, like we all need to exercise more and are told so nearly as often.

          But it’s easier and likelier to just bumblef*ck into the grave.

        • 0 avatar

          “Cadillac needs to innovate instead of copying its German rivals if it wants to succeed.”

          I don’t know if there even exist a market for Cadillac anymore. The Cadillac fan-base has either died off or has bought its German rivals instead of buying Cadillacs.

          My dad WAS the Cadillac generation, and when he finally got his Sedan de Ville 8-6-4 HT….. it was dog and a p.o.s.

          There’s better out there.

          • 0 avatar

            Tesla innovated and has become the equivalent of a 1960s Cadillac in terms of exclusivity and social status (alongside Mercedes, RR, Bentley, maybe JLR, etc). I realize GM is both inept and is probably still grappling with its near death experience, but Cadillac could have been there a few years ago if it had started in 2010-11 with a real product instead a quick makeover on the Volt for 75K. GM, other than profit, is only interested in one other thing: keeping the factories running/managing plat capacity. They may have shuttered plants and reduced some staff, but it is in their best interest to keep slack capacity at a minimum and keep product rolling with the assets they still have. Spending money to innovate, then spending money to retool a plant to produce said innovation which may fly or fall, is not in their worldview.

          • 0 avatar

            You’re right, and I believe in addition we should let the real-world buyers shake out the market and determine what is worth buying and left standing.

            My “worldview” of GM is that it should have been chopped up and given away to GM of Shanghai, like Chrysler was pimped to Fiat, along with a $1.3b bribe.

            Since that didn’t happen, I have advocated that GM should only focus on TWO divisions, Chevrolet and Cadillac.

            As it is now, Cadillac remains a worldwide exercise in futility, and Buick should be relegated to flourish on the China-market, sending those Yuan/Renminbi profits home to mama in the States.

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