Car sales bounce back from Sandy

Car sales bounce back from Sandy
Monday, December 3, 2012 - 10:15am

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Car sales rebounded even more than expected in November after being hurt a month earlier by Hurricane Sandy. The industry is on track for its best month of U.S. sales since early 2008.

October car sales missed forecasts since some buyers in the Northeast did not get a chance to complete purchases the weekend before the storm hit. But many of them apparently went ahead with those planned purchases in November. Some car owners were also forced to replace vehicles damaged by the storm.

General Motors sales edged up 3.4%, which was a bit weaker than expectations, due to flat sales to individual consumers. But Ford Motor reported a 6.5% rise in sales, topping analysts' forecasts. Sales at Toyota Motor shot up 17.2%, while Chrysler Group sales jumped 14%.

Analysts went into Monday's reports forecasting the annual pace of sales would reach 15 million vehicles. That would be an 11% rise from a year-ago and the first time sales reached the 15 million mark since February 2008. The strong sales from three of the four largest U.S. automakers put the industry on pace to hit that forecast. Honda Motor and other automakers are due to report results later Monday.

U.S. car buyers have been returning to showrooms in recent months as greater access to financing, pent-up demand for vehicles and some improvement in the jobs market have lifted consumer confidence and created demand for new cars.

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