Business

Truck, SUV Sales Carry Houston-Area Dealers In October

Big-ticket consumers were out in force last month, though sales retreated from September’s high.

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Vehicle sales fell across Greater Houston in October, after setting a new monthly record in September. Even so, the region’s auto dealers chalked up their seventh month in a row of year-over-year gains.

Total sales for the Houston area came to 30,408 vehicles last month — down 21.9 percent from September, but up 4.1 percent from October 2014.

Steve McDowell is president of InfoNation and publisher of TexAuto Facts. He says that consumer confidence is holding up well in the face of mounting layoffs in the energy and manufacturing sectors.

“If you look at the population with the most discretionary income, higher paid positions, I think that those jobs have not been lost to any great extent at this point, and that’s the market that buys new vehicles,” McDowell says.

The average retail sales price per vehicle for Houston dealers rose to $35,470 in October, an eight-month high, thanks to strong sales of trucks and SUVs. Those sales have been rising steadily over the course of the year, while sales of cars have waned.

“In fact, in retail sales for the year, trucks are up almost 7 percent,” McDowell says, “while retail car sales are down a little over 4 percent.”

He says the shift toward larger vehicles stems from a combination of low gas prices and greater fuel efficiency in newer model SUVs and crossovers.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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