"Car and truck sales have settled into a groove," said Jessica Caldwell, an Edmunds.com senior analyst. "Dealers are welcoming a consistent flow of shoppers into their showrooms and the pace will likely remain steady through the end of the year. With declining gas prices and strong truck and SUV sales, the industry is poised for a very busy holiday season."
Projected October sales will be a 3.1 percent increase from September 2014 and a 6.4 percent increase from October 2013.
The Edmunds forecast echoes a monthly sales forecast by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. New-vehicle retail sales are expected to reach their highest level for the month of October since 2004, according to the two.
"The industry continues to demonstrate strong sales growth and robust transaction prices, resulting in another record-breaking month for industry consumer spending," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power.
The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.04 per gallon, the lowest mark since December 27, 2010, according to AAA.
"Today's price is 6 cents less than one week ago and 25 cents less than one year ago," it said. "The national average has now dropped for 32 consecutive days for a total of 30 cents per gallon."
Edmunds says: A second wave of SUV popularity, lower gas prices and a confident mood are behind healthy October auto sales.