On Friday, the big automakers will report their October sales stats.
Analysts believe sales accelerated to an annualized pace of 15.4 million units, up from 15.3 million units in September.
“[I]ndustry surveys indicate that increased consumer caution during the government shutdown led to weak sales results in the first half of the month,” said Morgan Stanley’s Ted Wieseman. “Retail demand appears to have improved significantly after the shutdown ended, and fleet sales picked up, but with the weak start only a modest rebound in sales for the month as a whole is expected.”
In the near-term, bullish forces remain in place for the auto industry.
“One factor supporting further gains for the automotive sector is the age of the US Auto Fleet, which R.L. Polk puts at 11.4 years in 2013,” noted Oppenheimer’s John Stoltzfus in a note to clients this week.
“Although quality improvements are likely allowing people to drive their vehicles longer, we think many have held off replacing their vehicles due to concerns about the economy.
“As employment and economic security increase in coming months, we believe we could see a sharp rise in auto sales as drivers trade in for new vehicles.”
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