• Kyodo

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Major Japanese automakers shattered their own records for new car sales in October in the United States, lifted by low fuel prices and interest rates while benefiting from an extra selling day in the month, data released by Autodata Corp. showed.

“October was a huge month for the industry, smashing expectations and continuing its hot streak,” Toyota Group Vice President Bill Fay said in a press release.

Overall sales totaled 1,455,516 cars and light trucks in October, 13.6 percent more than the year before. The total translates to 18.24 million units in seasonally adjusted annualized sales, according to the U.S. research company.

Among Japanese automakers, Toyota Motor Corp. posted a 13 percent increase in the month, selling 204,045 vehicles, making it the third-largest automaker in the country. It was the first year Toyota sold more than 200,000 vehicles in October.

Toyota said both its namesake division and Lexus luxury brand broke October records, boosted by strong sales increases, 18.8 percent and 33.9 percent, respectively, of its sport utility vehicles and light trucks.

Honda Motor Co. sold 131,651 vehicles in the month, up 8.6 percent from a year ago, making it the fifth-largest automaker in the country. The company said along with continuing robust demand for SUVs, Honda’s core Accord and Civic sedans both posted double-digit sales gains and contributed to the sales record for the month.

Nissan Motor Co. sold 116,047 vehicles in the month, up 12.5 percent, making it the sixth-largest automaker in the country. Nissan said a record-breaking 23.5 percent light truck and SUV sales increase boosted its namesake division to set a record for the month.

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subaru cars, sold 51,629 units in the month, up 20 percent.

The Detroit Three of U.S. automakers also posted strong sales gains, with the largest automaker, General Motors Co. up 15.9 percent, the second-largest, Ford Motor Co., up 13.4 percent and the fourth-largest, FCA US LLC, up 15 percent.

Meanwhile, embattled German automaker Volkswagen AG, which has stopped selling its cars with certain diesel engines in the United States after admitting it rigged emissions data, posted only a small 0.2 percent increase, selling 30,387 vehicles in October.

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