Except for the "cash for clunkers" jolt that boosted car sales in August 2009 to an artificially high 14.17 million units (on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis), auto sales in October reached a two-year high in October of 12.26 million vehicles. That was the strongest month for auto sales since September 2008 when 12.52 million vehicles were sold. Chrysler and Ford helped fuel strong October car sales with two of the largest year-over-year gains of 37% and 19.3% respectively. As a whole, the industry registered sales gains of 17.5% in October compared to last year, following a September gain of 25.4%. Year-to-date car sales are ahead of last year's sales by 10.6%.
Although there still's a long way to go before car sales reach the pre-recession levels of 16-17 million units per year, there's been a lot of progress in the last 20 months - October sales of 12.26 million car sales were more than 3 million units above the cyclical low of 9.14 million autos sold in February 2009.