U.S. October car sales to show 8 pct rise -J.D. Power and LMC

Reuters

DETROIT, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The shutdown of the federalgovernment put a crimp in U.S. auto sales in the first half ofOctober, but new-vehicle purchases for the month will still rise8 percent from a year ago, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said onThursday.

The two consultancies jointly forecast October sales of 15.4million vehicles on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis.

John Humphrey, senior vice president of J.D. Power's globalautomotive practice, said that while sales took a hit during thegovernment shutdown during the first 16 days of the month, theyhave since rebounded.

"Sales in the third week of the month strengthened relativeto the first two weeks, which is evidence of vehicle buyersdelaying their purchase until the shutdown was resolved,"Humphrey said.

Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMCAutomotive, said the group's 2013 forecast remains unchanged at15.6 million new vehicles sold, up from 14.5 million last year.

While Schuster said that U.S. auto sales of more than 16million vehicles is "well within reach" next year, he cautionedthat consumer confidence may suffer if the U.S. Congress againgoes into gridlock as it considers raising the national debtceiling.

EDMUNDS, KELLEY BLUE BOOK FORECASTS

Forecasters Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book also showedexpectations of auto sales gains for the month.

Edmunds.com was the most bullish of the three agencies thatissued forecasts on Thursday, predicting a 13 percent rise insales and an annualized rate of 15.5 million vehicles.

Kelley Blue Book said October U.S. auto sales will rise 12percent, and an annualized sales rate for the month of 15.4million vehicles.

KBB said major automakers will all show increases in Octobersales from a year ago. These include General Motors Co,with 8 percent growth; Ford Motor Co, up 14 percent;Toyota Motor Corp, up 16 percent; Chrysler Group LLC,up 12.5 percent; and Honda Motor Co, up 12 percent.

Edmunds also estimated gains for the top five automakers inU.S. sales, with GM up 10 percent, Ford up 15.5 percent, Toyotaup 15.2 percent, Chrysler up 11 percent, and Honda up 12.6percent.

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