Despite sluggish consumer spending, October's U.S. auto sales point to a possible record year for the industry. Jeanne Yurman reports.
If there's a slowdown in consumer spending, someone forgot to tell car buyers. U.S. auto sales in October whizzed past forecasts, hitting their highest volume since 2001. General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Ford witnessed double-digit sales gains. GM says the industry could hit an all-time record this year at 17.8 million vehicles, surging from its slump during the recession. An added selling weekend boosted sales. And the need to replace old autos is bringing in buyers with the average vehicle age at well past a decade. It's also a great time to upgrade says Morningstar's David Whiston. SOUNDBITE: DAVID WHISTON, EQUITY STRATEGIST, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Cars are so much more high tech now than even four or five years ago, let alone eleven-and-a-half years ago. There's just, you combine them with cheap gas, very easy credit, there's just a lot of reasons to go in the showroom right now." Sales gains benefitted vehicle types across the board. Though Whiston says crossovers continue to be white hot, appealing to younger and older drivers offering the same fuel efficiency as sedans, but a lot more cargo space. Whiston says it's full throttle for the U.S. auto industry this year and next. He estimates even a potential one percent increase in interest rates will only add less than $20 per month to the average loan.