Hurricane Sandy to Drive Strong November Auto Sales

November 29, 2012 3:50 PM EST
Shares of Ford (NYSE: F) and GM (NYSE: GM) moved higher on Thursday, in part because sales growth in November is expected to be strong thanks to damaging effects from Hurricane Sandy. is predicting new U.S. vehicle sales will climb 11 percent in November compared to last year.

The online automotive-information provider estimated about 1.1 million new cars and trucks will be sold in November, a 1.4 percent increase from October. The forecast translates into a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 15 million, up from October's SAAR of 14.3 million.

As a result of the storm, Edmunds noted about 30,000 sales were either lost or deferred in October. Additionally, 200,000 to 250,000 vehicles were damaged or destroyed by Sandy, of which Edmunds projects 65,000 to 80,000 will be replaced with new vehicles.

"The fact that November sales have bounced back from a sluggish October suggests that those who lost cars or who deferred purchases after Hurricane Sandy are already getting back on the road," said Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. "Fortunately for these buyers, they entered a market in which holiday and year-end deals were in full swing and loan rates hovered near all-time lows."

Honda Motor Co. (NYSE: HMC) is expected to report the biggest year-over-year sales gain among the six major automakers, with a projected 34 percent sales increase. Fellow Japanese manufacturer Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) is expected to post an 18 percent sales increase, while Nissan Motor Co. is predicted to record a 4 percent gain.

Among U.S. automakers, Edmunds expects Chrysler Group LLC to report 13 percent sales growth. General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) are expected to record increases of 5.5 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

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