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Industry Could Realize Best October Since 2004, Say Analysts

October 28, 2014

IRVINE, Calif. — The October retail sales forecasts from J.D. Power and Kelly Blue Book are in, and they are predicting a solid sales month in what is traditionally the second weakest month of the year for car sales. More than 1.1 million cars are expected to be sold in October, a prediction that will mark the best October since 2004 if realized, J.D. Power noted.

This October is expected to be about 6% better than a year ago, which is great, KBB noted, considering that Labor Day deals in September and Black Friday deals in November typically keep consumers off dealer lots in October. The driver, the vehicle information site said, are incentives. 

“One cause for concern is the rising levels of incentive spending in the industry,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for KBB. “Since inventory levels have remained consistent, this isn’t a red flag quite yet, but it does underline that the natural industry growth we’ve had in recent years is slowing.”

Both companies expect the industry SAAR for total light vehicle sales to hold at more than 16 .3 million units, with J.D. Power noting that growth in SUV sales has been a boost to the industry.

“The market is clearly seeing a second wave of SUV popularity that will likely dominate market share for the foreseeable future,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.

KBB noted that Fiat Chrysler enjoyed another strong month, with growth approaching 20% mostly on sales of the Jeep Cherokee. Without the popular SUV, KBB predicted that the company’s growth would have been significantly lower.

The popularity of compact SUV’s in particular has made it the fastest growing segment in the market cutting into sales of compact and mid-sized cars, according KBB. The firm also found that the light pickup truck market was growing as well.

“Big gains are expected from the Ram pickup and solid numbers should be reported for both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra,” said Gutierrez.

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