Vehicle manufacturers post big sales gains for October

Vehicle manufacturers post big sales gains for October

November 3 at 8:24 PM

October leap for sales of new cars, trucks

Sales of new cars and trucks rose by double-digit percentages at most major automakers in October from last year, and companies are raising their expectations for the rest of the year.

Ford expects total annual U.S. sales of 17.4 million vehicles, just topping the record of 17.35 million from 2001.

General Motors’ U.S. sales rose almost 16 percent over October 2014. Ford and Toyota reported 13 percent gains. Nissan sales rose 12.5 percent over a year ago, and Fiat Chrysler’s sales were up nearly 15 percent. Honda’s sales rose 8.6 percent. Volkswagen, mired in an emissions-cheating scandal, posted just a small gain.

The car-buying Web site predicted October sales would rise 11.4 percent, to 1.4 million. That would be the best October since 2001, when ­zero-percent financing offers pushed sales to 1.6 million, according to the forecasting firm LMC Automotive.

GM said sales have run at an annual rate of 17.8 million for the past six months, putting the ­company on track for a full-year record. And the pace is unlikely to slow as holiday promotions begin in November.

“It’s going to be hard not to hit that record at this pace,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of auto sales forecasting for LMC. Schuster said the industry roared back from weak sales in the early months of the year.

Sales have been greased by cheap financing, low gas prices and an improving economy. Schuster said buyers are using the extra cash to buy bigger vehicles loaded with features.

Automakers induced buyers further with incentives on 2015 models. TrueCar said vehicle manufacturers spent 14.1 percent more than in October 2014 on cash-back promotions and other deals.

— Associated Press