The smallest of the U.S. industry's "big" automakers -- Chrysler, Hyundai-Kia, and Nissan – drove U.S. auto sales to an 8 percent gain in October, matching February as the best month of the year as measured by the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate.
The smallest three of the "Big 7" posted double-digit gains. Chrysler Group sales jumped 27 percent from a year earlier; Hyundai-Kia Automotive gained 22 percent, and Nissan North America was up 18 percent.
No. 1 General Motors Co. rose 2 percent, with Chevrolet's 6 percent growth offsetting falls at Buick, Cadillac and GMC. Ford Motor Co. sales were up 6 percent overall, led by a 13 percent increase at the Ford brand.
Both Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and American Honda Motor Co. lost volume in October, but for both it was the smallest loss in six months as they rebuild inventories slammed by post-quake production losses. Honda was off 1 percent; and Toyota, 8 percent.
Automakers sold 1,021,185 light vehicles last month, for a SAAR of 13.3 million. That's just a hair under February's rate, is slightly ahead of September's 13.1 million, and is up substantially from the 11.5 million pace in June -- the year's low point.