Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: October 2012
We reported Wednesday on Hurricane Sandy's impact to October car sales, with car shoppers across 13 states potentially delaying a purchase in the final week of the month while they assessed damage. One analyst noted that while some drivers would have to replace storm-damaged cars, others would end up keeping their clunkers because they had to spend money instead on damaged roofs or flooded basements. That wasn't the only impediment to auto sales: Rising MSRPs and lower discounts sent the average transaction price for a new car to $32,299 in October, according to CNW Marketing Research. That's $2,974 — 10.1%! — more than a year ago.

Did all of these factors stymie an automotive recovery 16 months in the making?

It appears so. Sales rose just 5.8% for the top seven automakers — the Detroit Three plus Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai/Kia — which represents the slowest growth in six months. Ford stayed flat. Nissan, noting that the storm-ravaged Northeast is its largest market, fell 3.2%. Hyundai dropped 4.1%.

Ford estimates Hurricane Sandy, which hit an area responsible for roughly 25% of U.S. auto sales, will knock 300,000 off October's annualized selling rate, Automotive News reports. GM projects a similar impact, spokesman Fred Ligouri said, but sales chief Kurt McNeil told CNBC that sales "tend to snap back quickly after a disaster like this."

There were some bright spots. Honda posted big numbers for the Civic versus an inventory-strapped October 2011, and Accord sales improved 25.5% as the redesigned 2013 sedan ramped up inventory. Indeed, more than three-fourths of Accords in national inventory are 2013s. Honda's best-seller fell short of the redesigned Toyota Camry — itself up 35.8% — by just 1,577 sales. Sales for Nissan's redesigned Altima picked up 12.8%, landing the car in third place among family sedans. Despite redesigned 2013 models in good supply, the Chevrolet Malibu (down 6%) and Ford Fusion (down 29.9%) faltered, however. Fusion shoppers have a glut of incentives — up to $3,250 — on the outgoing 2012 sedan but lower dealer inventory overall versus year-ago levels.

Despite a modest drop in its Jeep brand, Chrysler increased 10.2% on the strength of the Ram pickup truck, which saw its 30th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases, and two minivans. Detroit's full-size pickups had a good month overall, with higher inventory for the Ram, Ford F-Series and GM's Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra moving the group up a combined 9.3%. Ford said the F-Series (up 7.6%) had its best October since 2004.

Here are October's 10 best-sellers:

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Dodge Ford F150 Ford Escape RAM 1500 Nissan Toyota Nissan Altima Honda CR-V Honda Accord Honda Toyota Camry Honda Civic Toyota Matrix Ford Chevrolet Toyota Corolla Best Sellers Industry Social Reader

Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price.  Email Kelsey