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October auto sales better than expected

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 10:15:25 AM

Sales of new vehicles are projected to hit 1.43 million units this month, an increase of about 12 percent year-over-year. The sales resulted in an estimated 17.9 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for October, up from October 2014's 16.5 million SAAR, according to a press release from Kelley Blue Book. Last week analysts had already begun to suggest that this would be the biggest October for auto sales since 2001, but the more concrete numbers confirm that prediction. 

September was the best month for auto sales in a decade, and while October's SAAR dropped slightly from last month's 18.1 million, that is largely the result of September's five weekends. Double digit growth in October is still laudatory. Alec Gutierrez, a senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, pointed to "jobless claims at a historic low," "fuel pricing nearing six-year lows and interest rates that remain near zero" as vital economic factors indicating the lasting strength of auto sales through the end of the year. The same factors contribute to auto financing being as affordable as ever. 

Among auto retailers, Ford Motor Co. in particular has shown strong sales. The Wall Street Journal reported that Ford earned $1.9 billion in net income in the third quarter. That is more than double the profits reported in the third quarter of 2014, and encapsulates the incredible growth of the U.S. auto market.