U.S. October Auto Sales Strong, But GM Misses

The U.S. flag flies at the Burt GM auto dealer in Denver June 1, 2009.  RTEUTERS/Rick Wilking

The U.S. flag flies at the Burt GM auto dealer in Denver June 1, 2009. RTEUTERS/Rick Wilking


DETROIT - U.S. automakers reported their strongest October sales in years on Monday, but top-seller General Motors Co (GM.N) missed expectations.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCHA.MI)(FCAU.N) U.S. October sales rose 22 percent on strong pickup truck and Jeep SUV demand, and beat analysts' expectations.

Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) and Honda Motor Co (7267.T) each reported robust sales of their crossover models and record October U.S. sales for their core brands.

Major automakers in the U.S. market are expected to show a rise of about 6 percent from a year earlier. A poll by Thomson Reuters of 29 economists forecast a seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate of 16.5 million vehicles.

Each month, auto sales are an early snapshot of U.S. consumer spending.

“The U.S. economy has steadily improved all year and now we are poised for a stronger expansion backed by an improved job market, higher consumer confidence and lower fuel prices,” said Kurt McNeil, GM's U.S. sales chief.

GM sales were 0.2 percent above results from October 2013, at 226,819 vehicles, but missed estimates of analysts polled by Reuters by more than 5,000 vehicles.

The Ram truck brand, anchored by the Ram 1500 pickup truck, reported sales of 39,834 vehicles, a 36 percent increase from a year ago. Chrysler Group and its Ram brand took advantage as Ford Motor Co (F.N) has lowered production of its top-selling F-150 pickup truck in recent months. Ford is transitioning to a new aluminum-bodied version that will begin sales late this year.

Chrysler's Ram pickup truck sales rose 33 percent. Sales of GM's pickup trucks, including the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra, gained 16 percent.

Chrysler's Jeep brand sales jumped 52 percent, to 55,198 vehicles on the strength of the Cherokee SUV, which compared to low sales figures a year ago as it was being introduced.

It was the best October for Chrysler sales since 2001.

Chrysler's sales of 170,480 beat expectations by about 4,000 vehicles.

Nissan Motor sales rose 13.3 percent to 103,117 vehicles, beating expectations of an 11 percent rise. Nissan brand sales rose 15 percent, while the Infiniti luxury brand's sales fell 1.2 percent.

Sales of the Nissan Rogue crossover increased 14 percent to nearly 14,700 vehicles. Sales of the Sentra small car jumped 56 percent to 13,129.

Honda Motor sales rose 5.8 percent, missing expectations of an 8 percent rise.

Honda's top-selling model was the CR-V crossover at 29,257 vehicles, up 30 percent. It eclipsed the Accord sedan, which sold 27,128 vehicles, up 8 percent. Civic sales fell 12 percent to 24,154.

BY BERNIE WOODALL AND BEN KLAYMAN - Mon Nov 3, 2014 9:34am EST(Reuters)

(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Jeffrey Benkoe)


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