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Auto Sales & Ford Shares Break Out

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Car dealership

As expected, October delivered more treats than tricks for auto makers.

The monthly sales reported for the major auto makers (the smaller companies reported their numbers Tuesday) show stronger than expected sales, and the best month for the industry since Cash for Clunkers in the summer of '09.

Here's how the auto makers did last month:

  • GM (core brands): (up) 12.8%
  • Ford: (up) 18.8%
  • Toyota (down) 4.4%
  • Chrysler: (up) 37%

The sales rate will crack the 12 million rate for the first time this year. Even more important, the auto makers saw a sizable uptick in retail sales. All while incentives were held in check. Taken together, the October numbers paint a picture of an industry that may finally be breaking out of the lackluster sales range its been stuck in for 2010.

Is the consumer ready to rush back into showrooms? That's a little strong. Especially since the latest data from Polk shows new car buyers are holding on to their purchases longer than ever, on average 63.9 months. But with sales making a noticeable move higher, there is a level of enthusiasm in the industry I haven't seen since early 2008.

Ford shares move to a new high.

Shares of Ford moved past the $15 mark today on the heels of another month where it posted stronger than expected sales.

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Not only is this a 52 week high for shares of F, you'll have to go back to 2004 to find the last time this stock traded above $15, it continues an impressive rally that traded as low as $1.01 a share in November 2008.

Back then, more than a few people thought Ford would slide into bankruptcy. Less than two years later the company is headed towards its second most profitable year ever and the stock has soared.

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