Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

U.S. Auto Sales Rise in October

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

U.S. Auto Sales Rise in October

Article excerpt

DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- U.S. car and truck sales climbed 6.7 percent in October, led by a 21 percent gain at Chrysler and General Motors' first monthly increase since it was crippled by strikes this summer.

Chrysler, which reports Tuesday in its last full month before combining with Daimler-Benz, was helped by demand for its trucks and sport-utility vehicles. GM sales rose an estimated 3.9 percent. Japan-based makers, which had a strong year-ago period, will post smaller gains than in recent months.

Cars and light trucks sold at an estimated annual rate of 16 million, up from 15.5 million in the first half of the year and 14.7 million in October 1997. The strength indicates consumers remain willing to spend money on autos, even as concern about a slowing economy rattled U.S. markets in the last two months. "The predictions that consumers were getting ready to fold up their tents and go away is quite premature," said George Pipas, a Ford spokesman. Still, some analysts question how long the pace will continue. The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence fell to 117.3 from 126.4 in October, below expectations and the lowest level in two years. "These levels are very hard to sustain," said George Magliano, an economist with WEFA. "I think consumer confidence levels have been broken." Confidence ultimately will be bolstered by the U.S. Federal Reserve's recent cuts in the overnight bank lending rate, said Diane Swonk, deputy chief economist at Bank One. The cuts, which lowered the rate to 5.0 percent from 5.5 percent, sent a message that the Fed can move "rapidly and decisively" to ensure the longevity of the current expansion. Low prices are helping auto sales remain strong as confidence lags. Automakers have been able to maintain or cut prices on many models because of low inflation, increased competition and cost-cutting efforts. Discounts continued to draw buyers, helping GM recover from two eight-week strikes in Michigan. David Healy, an auto industry analyst with Burnham Securities, predicts sales will rise to about 15.8 million for 1998 from about 15.5 million last year. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.