Automakers' Sales Rise as Texas Buyers Begin Replacing Hurricane-flooded Vehicles

The U.S. auto market probably expanded for the first time this year as consumers started to replace vehicles following Hurricane Harvey, which damaged more cars than any storm in history.Toyota led the way with a 15 percent sales gain in September, and all major carmakers that have reported results for the month exceeded analyst estimates. General Motors said the industry may have sold vehicles at the fastest pace since December.For all the destruction wrought by Harvey, the storm may have been a shot in the arm for an auto market that's been shrinking following record sales last year. While analysts had projected the industry would have its best annualized selling pace in six months, those estimates look like they were too conservative. Buyers will keep returning to showrooms in Texas for months to replace waterlogged vehicles."People headed right to the dealer as soon as the storm cleared," Michelle Krebs, an analyst at car-shopping website Autotrader, said by phone. "We expect this will go into October and possibly continue in November."  Continue reading...

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