Another good car sales month, despite poor economy

Oct 30, 2011

The U.S. economy is still ailing, but it looks like auto sales had another good month, in part due to the recovery of Honda and Toyota. 

Michelle Krebs of Edmunds.com said overall U.S. auto sales rose about 11-percent in October, compared to the same month last year. She said it appears Honda and Toyota are finally making progress at boosting inventories, after the tsunami in Japan that happened last spring.

"And so we think that a lot of people that were destined to buy Hondas and Toyotas put off their purchases and we think that pent-up demand is coming into the market," Krebs said.

Car sales were up at Chrysler, Ford and GM, too. Chrysler's sales could be up by 27% compared to October a year ago; Ford up by about 8%, and GM by about 7%.

Krebs noted that September was also good for car sales.

"Now it may well all taper off and even out by the end of the year," Krebs said. "So this could be a bubble.  But at least for now it's a bright spot in the year for automotive and in the economy, for that matter."

Honda's sales will likely be down only slightly from last October. Toyota's sales could be down by about 10%.

Nissan's production was not deeply affected by the tsunami, and its sales have benefited from the inventory shortages at its Japanese competitors. Nissan sales could be up by 18% in October.