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Can Makers Maintain October’s Sales Momentum?

Best month since August 2009 – trend or an aberration?

by on Nov.01, 2011

Kia sets another sales record, as did Audi and several other makers.

Sales of new vehicles once again showed considerable strength during October after a slow summer that had many worrying the industry – along with the overall U.S. economy – might be heading into a double-dip recession.

With collective sales coming in at an annualized rate of about 13.3 million, October was the best month since August 2009, at the end of the Cash-for-Clunkers program, according to J.D. Power and Associates.  But the question nagging industry leaders and analysts alike is whether October’s strong performance was merely an aberration or the beginning of a long-desired upward trend in a market still recovering from its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

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Several manufacturers, including Audi, reported records for October, while Honda broke out of a long slump and, with Chrysler leading the way, Detroit’s automakers continued to report better sales.

However, Toyota suffered another setback last month as overall sales dropped 4.3% despite larger inventories and rising incentives as well as what Toyota executives described as a strong start for sales of the new Camry.