The monthly sales report is a gold mine for the lover of automotive facts and figures. Every number has a story to tell. Here are some of those stories.
Minivans and sport-utilities are very different birds. There's a lot more diversity in sport-utility sales than in minivan sales.
For example, through the first 10 months of this year, the five top-selling sport-utilities accounted for 44 percent of total SUV sales.
The leaders were the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Blazer and Dodge Durango. Thirty-nine other nameplates shared the rest of the sales pie.
On the other hand, the five leading minivans had 64.3 percent of that market.
They were the Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan, Ford Wind- star, Plymouth Voyager/Grand Voyager, Chevrolet Astro and Chevrolet Venture. Eleven other entries had the rest of the sales.
Customers have a lot more sport-utilities (42) than minivans (16) from which to choose.
Ford Motor Co. is the big cheese in sport-utilities, but not by much. After 10 months, the score was Ford, 632,879; the former Chrysler Corp, 626,129; General Motors, 623,586. On a percentage basis, it was 24 percent for each.
DaimlerChrysler Corp. (the U.S. branch of DaimlerChrysler AG) is the clear leader in minivans, with 37.8 percent of the market.
GM had 25.4 percent and Ford had 20 percent.
U.S.-badged vehicles dominate both segments. They had 72.4 percent of sport-utility sales and 83.2 percent of minivan sales.
Barring an economic cataclysm, 1999 will be the best sales year in the history of the U.S. auto industry. Consider:
The record is 16,026,426 cars and light trucks, set in 1986.
As of Oct. 31, this year's sales totaled 14,278,185, just 1,748,241 short of the record.
Jan. 1 through Oct. 31 this year had 256 selling days. Sales averaged 55,774 new cars and light trucks a day.
To set a record, sales must average just 34,280 a day for the 51 selling days in November and December - a piece of cake.
In October, the industry lengthened its lead over 1986. Last month's sales totaled 1,357,319, compared with 1,300,525 in 1986.
12 MONTHS IN 10
How's your favorite car or truck doing this year?
The purveyors of 12 brands can smile broadly as they answer that question. They sold more new vehicles in the first 10 months of 1999 than they did in the full year of 1998.
Jeep is the only U.S.-badged make in that group, and Jeep barely made it. Its 10-month total was 2 percent ahead of 1998's full-year tally.
Joining Jeep in the '10 months top 12' group were six European makes, all three Korean entries and two Japanese lines.
The biggest year-to-year percentage gain was posted by Daewoo, which sold 10 times as many cars through October this year as it did in all of 1998. But mark that with an asterisk. Daewoo models were sold in the United States for only four months last year.
The full-year leader was Hyundai, with a January-October increase of 52 percent over its full-year 1998 sales.