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Defying Government Shutdown, October Auto Sales are Strong

2014 Dodge Durango (Chrysler Group)

A 16-day government shutdown did not deter consumers from buying cars, as automakers are posting sales gains for the month of October. Kelley Blue Book expects overall October auto sales to be up about 12 percent compared with last year.

Kelley Blue Book Senior Analyst Alec Gutierrez says October vehicle sales were led by strong demand for SUVs and trucks. According to Gutierrez, pickup truck sales have benefited from cheaper gas prices, as well as a rebounding housing market.

Chrysler Group is reporting its best October since 2007, thanks to strong sales of the Dodge Durango, and Charger, Chrysler Town & Country and Jeep Compass and Patriot. Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs says that one reason for Chrysler Group's 11-percent sales gain is a new ad campaign featuring Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) touting the refreshed 2014 Durango.

Publications such as USA Today note that Chrysler Group's sales were strong despite the absence of the fully-redesigned 2014 Jeep Cherokee, whose production was delayed so the automaker could attend to refinement issues with its transmission.

Chrysler Group isn't the only automaker who had a great October. Toyota says its sales grew 8.8 percent over last year. General Motors, Honda and Ford posted sales gains of 16, 7.1 and 14 percent over last October, respectively.

Not only are vehicle sales up, but new-car transaction prices are also high. TrueCar Senior Analyst Jesse Toprak spoke with The Sacramento Bee and said that new-car transaction prices remain high, "thanks to the consumers' demand for vehicles loaded up with options." Still, Toprak predicts that incentive spending will be fairly high this quarter as "competition for market share will be fierce."

As 2013 draws to a close, the best incentives on new cars, SUVs and trucks are likely to be on 2013 models as automakers look to clear their lots to make room for 2014 models, though many automakers are offering low interest rate purchase deals and good lease deals on 2014 models as well.

In the market for a new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new vehicle by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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