Falling Gas Prices, Improved Economy Help Auto Sales in October

Nov 03, 2014 12:00 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

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Chrysler, Honda and Nissan all reported sales gains in the U.S. for October as falling gas prices and an improved economy helped boost sales of SUVs and pickup trucks.

Chrysler confirmed on Monday that U.S. sales rose 22 percent to 170,480, for its best October since 2001. Both Honda and Nissan posted their best October ever, according to the Associated Press.

Nissan sales increased 13 percent a year ago, while Honda's rose almost 6 percent.

The strong sales reports could be a sign that auto sales will continue at pre-recession levels through the rest of 2014. Industry analysts are expecting 6 percent sales gain once all automakers post their U.S. numbers this week.

Nissan believes that high consumer confidence and low gas prices helped push up sales across most of its model lineup.

"We expect that these factors will continue to boost auto sales for the last two months of 2014." said Fred Diaz, Nissan's U.S. sales and marketing chief, according to the AP.

The Japanese company said that its Nissan and Infiniti brands sold more than 103,000 vehicles in October. Nissan sales rose 15 percent, whereas the Infiniti brand was down just 1 percent.

Nissan's high sales could be attributed to the Rogue small crossover SUV, with sales up nearly 14 percent.

Chrysler's Jeep brand led the way with a 52 percent increase over a year ago, according to the AP. The automaker sold 16,000 Cherokees as the small SUV beat the Grand Cherokee as the brand's top seller once again.

The automaker also reported strong Ram pickup sales again, which were up 33 percent for the month.

Honda sales rose to 121,172, according to the automaker's report. Honda brand sales were up 5.5 percent, while Acura brand sales rose 8 percent, thanks to demand for the brand new TLX sedan.

Sales for the CR-V small crossover, Honda's best-seller, rose approximately 30 percent to 29,257, while sales of the redesigned Fit subcompact were up 83 percent.

It wasn't all good news however, as sales of the normally popular Civic small car dropped 12 percent, as more buyers purchased bigger vehicles and crossovers, according to the automaker.

Accord midsize vehicle sales were up 8 percent in October.

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