Auto sales, considered an early snapshot of U.S. consumer sending, had their best October in years. Bobbi Rebell reports.
October was a good time to be an automaker - thanks to a formula that is working for the industry. Kelley Blue Book's Karl Brauer: SOUNDBITE: KARL BRAUER, SENIOR DIRECTOR, INSIGHTS, KELLEY BLUE BOOK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There is good credit available. The economy seems to keep strengthening, at least enough to have some confidence in people. There are 11-year-old cars out there, is the average age, so people want a new vehicle. And of course fuel prices are dropping so people are not only looking at new vehicles, but they are looking at new large vehicles, which is great for the automakers because those carry stronger profit. " And the numbers support the bigger is better mantra of US consumers. Ford F-series pickup trucks remained the best selling models in the US - even as they lower production to switch to new aluminum-bodied models. General Motors, while overall sales missed forecasts, reported pickup truck sales - which include the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra - were up 16 percent. Fiat Chrysler overall sales were up 22 percent, driven by strong pickup and Jeep SUV demand. Reuters correspondent Ben Klayman: SOUNDBITE: BEN KLAYMAN, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The really low gas prices below $3 a gallon are really boosting sales for the trucks and SUVs especially the smaller SUVs and that is a trend a lot of analysts and industry executives expect to continue as we go forward where we are going to see more sales of those vehicles and fewer sales of the smaller cars." Overall - monthly U.S. sales of the six largest automakers rose 6 percent from a year ago, matching analysts' expectations - and setting up a nice year-end trend. SOUNDBITE: KARL BRAUER, SENIOR DIRECTOR, INSIGHTS, KELLEY BLUE BOOK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "You are going to go into the holidays, you are going to have all the year end stuff we've always got, but there is no indication that there is any reason for the sales to drop off. And don't forget that every time we have these sales growths on years that were growing previously, that just shows how strong the market is." And with auto sales considered an early snapshot of consumer spending, the strong auto market could be a tip off to a holiday season heavy full of good cheer for all.