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October Auto Sales Could Hit 12 Million: Ford

October auto sales are projected to hit a pace of 12 million vehicles, a new monthly high for 2010, according to George Pipas, sales analyst with Ford Motor.

Pipas says industry sales in October likely hit their highest level since August of 2009, when sales soared because of the government's Cash for Clunkers Program. Take away that month and you have to go back to 2008 to find the last time the monthly sales rate topped 12 million.

The major auto makers, including Ford, will report October sales on Wednesday. But a few, including Hyundai (up 37.6 percent) and BMW (up 12.6 percent), reported sales on Tuesday. Those numbers, along with data from dealers around the country, convince Pipas the industry sales rate hit at least 12 million last month.

What's behind the increase?

Pipas attributes much of it to the pent-up demand for new cars and gradually improving consumer confidence. Incentives appear to be in line with recent months.

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