October auto sales nearly 6 percent stronger than last year, report forecasts

Chrysler sales surged this past month, helping October vehicle purchases move past last year's rate, according to new numbers from TrueCar.com.

October proved to be a busy month for new-car sales, as based on a recent report, automotive purchases are projected to finish the month on a strong note.

On a seasonally adjusted annual basis, there were approximately 16 million new-vehicle buys in the first full month of fall, according to online buying and selling firm TrueCar. That’s up nearly 6 percent from year-ago levels. The specific name plate that saw the largest jump in buying activity was Chrysler, which posted a year-over-year sales gain of nearly 22 percent. Meanwhile, sales tumbled for Ford, which positioned to see it’s largest decline in sales at 6 percent below how many automobiles were purchased at the corresponding time in 2013.

“Fiat Chrysler’s growth, fueled by Jeep and Ram, has set up a dogfight this month, with FCA, Ford, and Toyota battling for second place behind GM in total volume,” said John Krafcik, TrueCar.com president. “Industry-wide, we’re looking at the strongest October since 2004, with incentive spending at healthy levels, and on-track to finish the year at 16.4 million units.”

Meanwhile, used vehicle sales also finished higher than October 2013. Total car sales are projected to reach slightly shy of 3.1 million, which is a 2.8 percent uptick from 12 months ago.

IHS: Average lifespan of vehicle is nearly 11.5 years

Perhaps in light of improved technology and equipment, typically, more than a decade passes before motorists trade in their used cars for a new one. The combined average age of all light vehicles this year is just shy of 11.5 years, according to IHS Automotive. There are approximately 252 million light vehicles in operation nationwide, up 1.5 percent since 2013.

In the past decade or so, there’s been a gradual increase in the average age of automobiles on the road, Mark Seng, aftermarket practice leader of IHS, said in a press release. In the years to come, this statistic will likely plateau, meaning that the typical age of today’s car will like stay right around 11 years.

There are several advantages to used-car ownership. For example, auto insurance premiums tend to be lower and the sticker price is usually less expensive than all-new vehicles. Additionally, improved construction of used models has made the cost of ownership cheaper, thanks to automobiles running into fewer maintenance issues. Close to 50 percent of consumers in the U.S. spend about $500 per year on repairs, according to a recent poll performed by AutoMD.com.

Many maintenance problems can likely be avoided with better awareness of how a vehicle is performing. Neglecting to check a car’s fluid levels is among the top mistakes car owners make. Antifreeze and fluids for power steering, engine, brakes, and windshield wipers should be checked on a regular basis, especially for cars that have more mileage on them, auto mechanics advise.

AutoMD.com recently assembled a list of the most common services and repair mistakes owners should strive to avoid, like failing to check a car’s hoses and belts, which can wear out over time, depending on how often a vehicle is driven.