* Chrysler says sales climb 10 percent
* Four of five Chrysler brands report gains
* Jeep sales fall 5 percent
Nov 1 Chrysler Group LLC said Thursday that
October car sales were the best in five years.
Chrysler, an affiliate of Italy's Fiat SpA and the
first of the major automakers to report, said October sales of
126,185 were up 10 percent from 114,512 a year ago.
Chrysler said it was the 31st consecutive year-to-year
increase in its monthly sales. Four of the company's five brands
-- Chrysler, Dodge, Ram Truck and Fiat -- saw sales gains in
October. Jeep sales fell 5 percent.
U.S. auto sales are expected to show a rise of 11 percent
for October, led by Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor
Co, which benefited from increased demand for compact
cars, as gasoline prices remained high across the country.
The annual sales rate is expected to be 14.9 million
vehicles for the second straight month, according to a Reuters
poll of economists.
"This stability at a higher level is taking the edge off the
risk factors for the remainder of 2012 and into 2013, as the
U.S. economy wrestles with the European crisis," said Jeff
Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC
Rising home prices, attractive vehicle financing options and
Americans' growing need to replace their aging cars also spurred
more consumers to showrooms.
Disruptions from Hurricane Sandy, which hit the U.S. East
Coast on Monday, likely cut about 100,000 vehicle sales, but
that demand will come back in November, Jefferies analyst Peter
Over the last five years, the U.S. auto sector has undergone
a wrenching overhaul that led to plant closures, job losses and
the government-financed bankruptcy restructurings of General
Motors Co and Chrysler in 2009. Ford Motor Co also
overhauled its U.S. operations, but did not take a government
Auto sales are an early indicator each month of U.S.
An 11-percent jump in October sales would illustrate the
continued recovery of the U.S. auto industry, which three years
ago was in crisis mode as sales fell to the lowest point in
nearly three decades.
The October sales report will be the last before Election
Day, marking the end of a contentious U.S. presidential race
that has repeatedly thrust GM and Chrysler into the spotlight in
televised debates, stump speeches and campaign advertisements.
The sales report also caps a busy week for the U.S. auto
industry, which saw third-quarter profit reports from all three