Monthly auto sales are being reported throughout the day today, and numbers from Ford and Chrysler are already out.
Sales are still growing, but both companies missed consensus estimates.
Chrysler sales grew 10 percent versus expectations of a a 13 percent rise.
Ford sales rose 0.4 percent in October versus expectations of a 3.5 percent increase.
The misses are due to lost sales from Hurricane Sandy, according to Bloomberg News (via the LA Times):
Sandy’s strongest impact occurred on the coastline from New Hampshire to Virginia, putting a halt to car-buying activity at about 1,000 auto retailers in New York and New Jersey alone, dealership consultant Urban Science said. Typically in October, the last seven days of the month generate more than 30 percent of industry sales, according to researcher Edmunds.com.
“Anybody who reads these numbers as the industry is softening’ is incorrect,” Michelle Krebs, an analyst for Santa Monica, California-based Edmunds, said by telephone. “The last weekend of the month and the last days of the month are the big days of cars sales because that’s when the deals are closed. So for auto sales, the storm couldn’t have come at a worse time.”
GM, on the other hand, reported sales growth right in line with expectations at 4.7 percent in October and boosted its year-end inventory target.
The GM press release said housing is the only thing holding the industry back now:
“Year over year, the light vehicle selling rate has increased for eight consecutive quarters without a tailwind from the residential housing sector, but that is starting to change,” said McNeil. “If these trends continue, housing may be the final piece of the puzzle that lifts sales above 15 million units on an annual basis just as GM prepares to launch even more new cars, crossovers and trucks.”
Honda, which was expected to lead the gains this month along with Toyota, is estimated to have grown sales 18 percent in October.
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