iStock Analyst with the details:
With the exception of Chrysler, most major automakers saw improved U.S. sales performance in the month of October. Despite analysts expectations of declining sales, Ford (F) and General Motors both surprised to the upside with gains of 3.1% and 4.1% respectively. This was GM's first year over year gain since January of 2008. Nissan reported sales grew by 5.6%, and luxury brands like Mercedes Benz (DAI) and Porsche also had better results than last year.
Of course, we are aware that these results are compared to some pretty wretched sales from the post Lehman collapse a year ago. For example, GM sales fell 45% in October of 2008 largely due to a lack of available financing in the midst of the credit collapse. However, it appears that this does show that perhaps the sales trends are starting to improve for automakers. According to a survey of analysts by Bloomberg, the annual sales rate for the the month of October topped 10.3 million vehicles. The 10 million vehicle benchmark is an important one and October is the first month of 2009 to top this benchmark without government incentives skewing sales results.