GM to Ford leading U.S. sales gains on post-shutdown resilience

General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. reported U.S. sales gains for October as demand recovered following the 16-day government shutdown and remained on pace for the best year since 2007.

Sales of cars and light trucks rose 16% at GM and 14% at Ford, while Chrysler Group LLC reported an 11% gain. The results compared with analysts’ average estimates for gains of 7.9% for GM, 16% for Ford and 14% for Chrysler in a survey by Bloomberg News. Nissan Motor Co. deliveries climbed less than estimates.

Showroom traffic and sales accelerated after Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to fund the government and lift the debt limit Oct. 17, automakers said. Analysts’ average estimate called for a 7.3% gain in industrywide October sales, putting the U.S. market over the 13 million mark through the year’s first 10 months. Annual sales failed to cross that threshold in the three years through 2011.

“We’re seeing the resiliency of the consumer yet again,” Michelle Krebs, an analyst at auto researcher Edmunds.com, said in a telephone interview. “While we saw a little bit of slowdown during the shutdown, it picked right back up. We’re expecting a strong close and then a strong 2014.”

Deliveries for GM rose at all four brands, led by Buick’s 31% gain. Sales of the Silverado and Sierra large pickups increased 10% and 13%, respectively. The Detroit- based company this week posted third-quarter profit that beat estimates on demand for the redesigned Silverado truck, Impala sedan and Cadillac cars.

Fusion Climbs

Ford’s Fusion sedan sales climbed 71% to 21,740 and its Lincoln luxury brand deliveries rose 38%. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker’s F-Series gained 13% to 63,803.

GM rose 2.7% to $37.94 at 10:19 a.m. in New York trading while Ford fell 0.2% to $17.08. The shares gained 28% and 32% this year through yesterday’s close, respectively, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 23%.

Deliveries for Chrysler, majority-owned by Fiat SpA, rose 11% to 140,083 cars and light trucks. The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company reported just 579 sales for the Cherokee sport-utility vehicle, which originally was supposed to begin deliveries midyear.

“After a choppy start to the beginning of the month, Chrysler Group sales accelerated in the second half of the month with renewed consumer confidence and the launch of our all-new Jeep Cherokee,” Reid Bigland, the automaker’s head of U.S. sales, said in a statement.

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