GM October sales expected to increase

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By Kalea Hall

Though they differ in magnitude, three auto analysts say General Motors will weigh in with an increase in car sales for October 2014 next week.

Kelley Blue Book lists the compact-car segment, which includes the Lordstown-built Chevrolet Cruze, with an increase of 3.3 percent from October 2013.

“It is still one of the biggest segments in the industry, it just seems to have hit a plateau,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for KBB. “So far this year, it is up 1.7 percent compared to last year.”

When it comes to market share, compact cars are trailing only midsize cars and the full-size pickup trucks, he said.

Overall, KBB projects GM will have an increase of 4.2 percent with 236,000 units sold compared with 226,402 in October 2013.

TrueCar projects GM will sell 230,100, a 1.6 percent increase from last October.

And Edmunds projects a 2.1 percent increase for GM with an expected 231,131 units sold.

Edmunds did not break down segment-sales projections, but senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said the compact segment should do well, though the emphasis at this time of the year is normally on trucks.

“[GM] had a really strong [truck] month last month,” she said. “I imagine the truck number will be another good one for them.”

TrueCar also does not break down its forecast by segment.

Overall, all three platforms project the same seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.3 million for all of the automakers. TrueCar has total new-vehicle sales, including fleet, at 1,278,800 units sold in October, an increase of 5.9 percent; Edmunds forecasts 1,281,548, an increase of 6.4 percent; and KBB estimates 1.27 million units sold in October 2014, an increase of 5.4 percent.

“It just seems like things are relatively healthy,” Caldwell said.

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive reported new-vehicle retail sales to be at 1.1 million, which is the strongest October since 2004. The 1.1 million units forecast jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive is a 6 percent increase compared with October 2013. Total vehicle sales are estimated at 1,271,500 units.

J.D. Power estimates spending on new vehicles in October to exceed $32.5 billion.

In addition to better economic conditions, J.D. Power attributes the growth in retail sales and higher transaction prices partly to longer-term financing, which makes purchases more affordable for monthly payments.

“The industry continues to demonstrate strong sales growth and robust transaction prices, resulting in another record-breaking month for industry consumer spending,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power.

Gutierrez also said the financing available is helping sales, along with a pent-up demand from drivers in need of a new car. He also said leasing has been an “incredibly strong driver.”

KBB projects GM’s market share will go down by 0.2 percent from 18.8 percent in October 2013 to 18.6 percent in October 2014.

TrueCar and Edmunds both estimate GM’s market share to go down from 18.8 percent in October 2013 to 18 percent this October.

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