Low Gas Prices, SUV Sales Fuel Strong October

Chrysler, Nissan, and Honda all reported U.S. sales gains last month as low gas prices and booming SUV and pickup truck sales drove people into dealerships. Chrysler said its U.S. sales rose 22 per cent to 170,480 for its best October since 2001, while both Nissan and Honda posted their best October ever. Nissan sales were up...

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Chrysler, Nissan, and Honda all reported U.S. sales gains last month as low gas prices and booming SUV and pickup truck sales drove people into dealerships.

Chrysler said its U.S. sales rose 22 per cent to 170,480 for its best October since 2001, while both Nissan and Honda posted their best October ever. Nissan sales were up 13 per cent over a year ago, while Honda's rose nearly 6 per cent.

The early reports Monday were a strong sign that the auto sales boom would continue at pre-recession levels through the rest of the year. Industry analysts are expecting a 6 per cent sales gain after automakers report their U.S. numbers on Monday.

Nissan said low gas prices and high consumer confidence pushed up sales across most of its model lineup.

"We expect that these factors will continue to boost auto sales for the last two months of 2014." said Fred Diaz, Nissan's U.S. sales and marketing chief.

The Japanese automaker said its Nissan and Infiniti brands sold just over 103,000 cars and trucks last month. Nissan sales rose almost 15 per cent while the Infiniti luxury brand was down 1 per cent. Nissan was led by the Rogue small crossover SUV, with sales up almost 14 per cent.

At Chrysler, the red-hot Jeep brand led the way with a 52 per cent increase over a year ago. The company sold nearly 16,000 Cherokees as the small SUV again unseated the Grand Cherokee as the brand's top seller. Ram pickup sales continued to be strong, up 33 per cent for the month.

Honda said its sales rose to 121,172. Honda brand sales were up 5.5 per cent, while luxury Acura brand sales rose 8 per cent on thanks to demand for the new TLX sedan.

Sales of Honda's bestseller, the CR-V small crossover SUV, jumped 30 per cent to 29,257, while sales of the recently redesigned Fit subcompact were up 83 per cent. But sales of the Civic small car dropped 12 per cent as buyers generally sought bigger cars and crossovers. Accord midsize car sales were up 8 per cent.

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