GM Comes On Strong In October

General Motors Corp. led all automakers with a 17.3 percent sales increase in October, fueled by a 33.2 percent rise in truck and sport utility vehicle sales. But GM car sales dropped 1.9 percent.

Toyota, meanwhile, reported best-ever October sales of 189.011, a 13.6 percent increase versus the month last year. Toyota's light truck sales were up 27 percent with the Sienna minivan up 11.4 percent and Rav4 doing its best-ever October, up 163.1 percent, or 11,154 units.

Ford also got much-needed relief in October, reporting sales up 8 percent, with car sales up 22 percent and truck sales up 1 percent.

The company got much needed relief from strong sales of Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln MKZ, vehicles based on its mid-sized platform. Sales of Fusion were up 143 percent, Milan was up 67 percent and the MKZ saw a 90 percent spike in sales versus its earlier version the Zephyr. Sales of Ford's Focus compact car line were up 27 percent.

Ford's Volvo division, part of the Premier Automotive Group, sold 8,395 vehicles last month, a 3.6 percent decrease versus the month last year.



Among import brands reporting, Mercedes-Benz, on a rebound, reported its highest October sales ever with 20,598 vehicles sold last month, a 12 percent lift over last October. Following a trend toward stronger sales of luxury SUVs, the DaimlerChrysler division reported selling 70 percent more of its M, R, and G class vehicles last month.

But DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group, which just launched its Sebring car among ten redesigned or face-lifted models this year, posted a 3 percent drop for year-over-year October sales.

Volkswagen reported October sales down 7.4 percent, though year-to-date sales are still up nearly 10 percent versus last year.

VW sibling Audi also reported a similar decrease -- 3.4 percent -- last month, though 2006 sales are up over 4 percent so far. The company's new Q7 SUV accounted for 1,653 units sold last month. Audi's redesigned flagship car, the A8, which competes with high-end vehicles like Mercedes' S-Class and the BMW 7-Series, last month saw a 12.5 percent boost in sales versus 2005.

Nissan reported an increase of sales in October by 8.1 percent versus the prior year. Nissan divisional sales were up 9.6 percent while Infiniti, Nissan's luxury unit, saw sales drop 1.8 percent. The Nissan brand was helped by sales of the new Sentra compact and Versa subcompact, posting sales of 1,900 and 3,056 units respectively.

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