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October auto sales slightly lower than expected

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2015 at 10:51:03 AM

To the surprise of many industry experts, U.S. automobile purchases declined slightly in October. Reuters, citing data from the Commerce Department, reported that while retail sales crept up to a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent last month from 0.1 percent in September, sales at auto dealerships dropped 0.5 percent. In September, auto sales had risen 1.4 percent.

The decline in vehicle sales took many by surprise because auto manufacturers saw stellar business throughout October. In a press release earlier this month, AutoNation, the automotive retailer, announced that sales in October 2015 were up 14 percent over those from the year before, with about 1.5 million trucks and cars sold. Following two months of double-digit growth in August and September, many suggested that this year could break the record for total auto sales.

Friday's data report seems to have tempered those predictions, though the possibility for record-setting sales still exists. The auto industry is still unquestionably solid as auto financing continues to prove very popular among drivers, particularly for luxury vehicles and trucks. Ford, for example, has not changed its projection of 17.4 million sales for the year, which would beat the 17.35 million record set in 2001.