DETROIT (AP) — October auto sales are expected to rise substantially from the same month last year as once-stingy automakers loosened up on rebates and incentives, luring more customers into showrooms.
Car price information service TrueCar.com predicts October sales rose 11 percent from a year ago, yet were down 3 percent compared with September.
Most automakers will report October sales throughout the day Wednesday. Hyundai and Volkswagen released sales data Tuesday, each posting big gains from October of last year.
In general, automakers offered more incentives this October than a year earlier — about a 6 percent increase to $2,800 per vehicle, according to TrueCar.
Adjusted for seasonal variations, October sales should come in at an annual rate of 12 million, better than September's 11.7 million, according to TrueCar.
The increasing seasonally adjusted rate is an indication that a recovery is under way, said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends with TrueCar. "If the trajectory continues in the same path, we could have a strong finish to the year," he said.
But the industry is still cautious about offering generous rebates and low-cost loans to lure customers. Newly lean and profitable car makers don't want to erode the bottom line by offering too many sweet deals that cut into profit margins. Yet even a disciplined industry can't resist end-of-the-year sales.
Hyundai said sales were up 38 percent compared with last year, with sales of the midsize Hyundai Sonata more than doubling. Turbo and hybrid versions of the car helped fuel sales, the company said.
Volkswagen of America said Tuesday sales in October were up 17.9 percent. Diesel versions of its models made up 25 percent of the company's total volume.