U.S. October auto sales best in several years, GM misses

Mon Nov 3, 2014 1:07pm EST
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By Bernie Woodall and Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - Automakers reported their strongest U.S. October sales in years on Monday, but top-seller General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) missed expectations.

Monthly U.S. sales of the six largest automakers as measured in U.S. market share rose 6 percent from a year ago, matching analysts' expectations.

Declining gasoline prices helped boost demand for SUVs and crossovers. Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) said utility vehicles and trucks accounted for 72 percent of its sales, up from 68.5 percent a year ago.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' (FCHA.MI: Quote) (FCAU.N: Quote) U.S. October sales rose 22 percent on strong pickup truck and Jeep SUV demand, beating analysts' expectations.

While Ford sales fell 2 percent to 188,654 vehicles, the result beat analysts' expectations by nearly 6,000 vehicles, according to a Reuters poll.

The lower monthly sales by Ford were expected because the company has lowered production of the F-150 pickup in recent months during the transition to an aluminum-bodied model, which goes on sale later this year.

A poll by Thomson Reuters of 29 economists forecast a seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate of 16.5 million vehicles. RBC Capital Markets at midday said October sales will be about 16.4 million on an annualized basis.

Each month, auto sales are an early snapshot of U.S. consumer spending.   Continued...

The U.S. flag flies at the Burt GM auto dealer in Denver June 1, 2009.  RTEUTERS/Rick Wilking