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.
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.
Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne is introducing redesigned SUVs including Cherokee and the Dodge Durango, featured in co-branded ads for the movie “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” to extend Chrysler’s sales-gain streak beyond 3 1/2 years.
Durango monthly sales rose 59% to 5,120. Actor Will Ferrell starred in 70 television and online promotions for the new Durango and Paramount Pictures’ “Anchorman 2,” which features him as Ron Burgundy and will be released Dec. 20. Chrysler said the SUV’s campaign generated more than 7 million views as of Oct. 30.
Sales of cars and light trucks probably climbed to 1.22 million in October, the average of nine estimates in the Bloomberg survey. The annualized industry sales rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, may rise to 15.4 million, the average of 14 estimates, from 14.4 million a year earlier.
GM predicted a 15.6 million industry light-vehicle sales pace for the month. Chrysler, controlled by Turin, Italy-based Fiat, today forecast a 15.7 million industry pace for October, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which typically account for at least 200,000 deliveries a year. The automaker has reported year-over-year sales gains in 43-straight months.
Nissan deliveries rose 14% to 91,018, according to an e-mailed statement. The Yokohama, Japan-based automaker trailed the 17% average estimate of six analysts.
The average estimates of six analysts are for October sales increases of 13% by Toyota City, Japan-based Toyota Motor Corp. and 12% by Tokyo-based Honda Motor Co.
Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp.’s combined deliveries probably advanced 2.8%, the average of six estimates. The Seoul-based carmakers have trailed the industrywide sales pace each month since September 2012.
Hyundai sales rose 6.5% to 53,555, John Krafcik, CEO of the company’s U.S. sales unit, wrote in a posting on Twitter. The results were driven by a “post-shutdown rebound” and paced by the Santa Fe SUV and Sonata and Equus sedans, he said.
Volkswagen AG may report a 3.3% gain in combined October sales for the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company’s VW and Audi brands, the average of three estimates. Deliveries for VW brand plunged 18% to 28,129, according to an e-mailed statement.