Orange County Business Journal

October Auto Sales Mixed

Kari Hamanaka Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy hit national auto sales for October, which missed analyst expectations.

Auto sales nationally rose 6.9% to 1.09 million vehicles last month, according to Woodcliff Lake, NJ-based Autodata Corp.'s online industry researcher Motor Intelligence.

Analysts had expected an 11% increase for October.

Vehicle sales still remain on track to surpass 14 million vehicles this year, according to Motor Intelligence.

The hurricane hit Orange County’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor America Inc.

The company, temporarily headquartered in Costa Mesa while its Fountain Valley campus is built, saw sales slump 4% in October from a year earlier to 50,271 vehicles. The results break 25 straight months of year-over-year monthly sales increases.

Hyundai cited challenges for itself and the industry last month, including Hurricane Sandy, the presidential election and economic uncertainty

Hyundai sister company Kia Motors America Inc. of Irvine managed to notch a record-breaking October, with sales up 12.6% to 42,452 vehicles.

Irvine-based Mazda North American Operations reported October sales up 1.6% to 18,622 vehicles.

American Suzuki Motor Corp. in Brea managed to reverse a recent sales slump, posting a 5% increase in sales to 2,023 vehicles.

Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America said its sales continue to be affected by its August 2011 halt in production of the Eclipse coupe, Eclipse Spyder convertible and Endeavor crossover. Sales for the month fell 9.1% to 3,981 vehicles. Sales were up 7% excluding the discontinued models.