Auto sales are on pace to increase at least 12% this month from a year ago, according to four analyst forecasts released today (Oct. 25), as the industry regains momentum lost during a weak September and a 16-day government shutdown.
Automotive News reported that analysts from LMC Automotive, Kelley Blue Book and Barclays Capital each said the industry’s seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate would climb to an estimated 15.4 million, from 14.2 million in October 2012. Edmunds.com is forecasting a 13% increase and a SAAR of 15.5 million.
“It looks like the government shutdown ended just in the nick of time,” Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ senior analyst, said in a statement. “The week-by-week data suggests that consumers started to get jittery by the middle of the month. But with the government back to work, most lost sales should be made up in the latter half of the month, and the industry’s momentum will continue the pace it enjoyed before the disruption in Washington.”
Registration data from J.D. Power and Associates, which LMC uses to prepare its forecasts, show that retail sales strengthened after the government resumed operations Oct. 17. Sales were most affected in the Atlantic Coast region, falling 6.5% in the first two weeks of the month before rising 2.5% after the shutdown ended. LMC expects retail sales nationwide to be up 12% for all of October.
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