North American vehicle production rose 15 percent in October from a year earlier, chalking up a ninth straight month of year-on-year gains, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center.
The month brought an output of 1.32 million light vehicles, according to the data center, bringing the year-to-date total to 12.4 million vehicles — a 13 percent jump from the year-earlier period.
While October's output was the lowest since July, the continued gains compared with 2021 reflects progress after almost three years of turbulence driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Production came to a near halt in April 2020 as lockdowns snarled global value chains. Output returned to pre-pandemic levels in the second half of 2020, until semiconductor shortages stalled production. The lack of supply led to slim inventory and high prices for new and used vehicles.
As production woes turn to gains in 2022, some promise is shown for meeting demand and restocking dealerships.
The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of sales in October rose to 15.3 million, the highest since January, according to Motor Intelligence. At the same time, new-vehicle inventory jumped to 1.56 million at the end of the month, up from 1.32 million at the end of September, according to Cox Automotive.
Historically, production tails off at the end of the year, as plants shut down for a Christmastime break. With two months left, the full-year tally is almost certain to be the highest since 2019's 16.4 million.
North American light-vehicle production the past two years, impacted by the pandemic and ensuing chip shortage, failed to top 13.3 million.