BANDON, Ore. — The first half of October has the industry on track to sell between 14.4 and 14.6 million units this year, CNW Research reported in its automotive retail summary for the month.

In October’s opening days, the firm said same-store sales surpassed last year’s numbers by almost 13 percent, while closing ratios have spiked by 13 percent vs. a year ago. The main driver, according CNW’s Art Spinella, is leasing.

“Leasing is once again behind much of the increase, as residual value projections become more lenient and finance rates for those leases decline in order to get payments into the low $200 per month range,” Spinella wrote.

The firm’s data also revealed that the share of incentivized sales have grown steadily since May to 90 percent. Total value of those incentives has reached nearly $4 billion, up nearly 50 percent from January 2011 and 33 percent higher than the $3 billion reported last October.

Floor traffic — which drastically varied from brand to brand — also is on the rise, as is the percentage of shoppers who say they’ll be back in the market within three months. “That, in turn, has boosted the pent-up demand level to a point that bodes well for late 2012 and early 2013 sales,” Spinella wrote, noting that most shoppers typically take about six months to make their way through the purchasing funnel.

By brand, new floor traffic among Chrysler customers in October was up 31.9 percent, significantly higher than the overall industry average of 21.3 percent. Hyundai’s floor traffic was at 24.5 percent, while Ford was at the industry mark. General Motors (11.2 percent) and Honda (18.3 percent) were the only two brands that fell below the industry average.

CNW finds that the solid sales month is paving the way for an anticipated 15.7 million unit delivery rate for 2013.


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