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Car Sales Improved by Ten Percent in Late October, According to Edmunds.com

October 30, 2008

The worst may be behind the auto industry in terms of car sales as the second half of October was up 10 percent versus the first half of the month, according to a new report by Edmunds’ AutoObserver.com.

"The data suggests that the market hit bottom between September 15th and October 15th," observed Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl. "We can anticipate more fluctuations through the election and the holidays, but it is reasonable to assume that there is some degree of pent-up demand building. The last time we had sales at this level we had 50 million fewer people living in America. Short of new shocks hitting an already battered consumer, we see overall sales trending modestly upward."

The first and second halves of October reflected disparate sales trends according to "purchase intent" data measured through visitor traffic activity on Edmunds.com.

In addition to the 10 percent drop expected due to seasonality, the first half of October was down four percent vs. the first half of September, while the second half of October (based on data through the 28th) is up 11 percent when adjusted for seasonality. To put it another way, the second half of October (through the 28th) was up 10 percent versus the first half.

"The swing is definitely large enough to indicate a real movement in the market," said Edmunds.com senior analyst Dr. David Tompkins. "These results will be masked by the reporting of full-month sales for October, but hopefully it points to a brighter November."

November typically is one of the weakest months for sales.

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