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Auto sales rise despite big storm

In this  Thursday Oct. 4 2012 phoHyundai Elantris seen inside Hyundai car dealership Des Planines Ill.  Major automakers

In this Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, photo, a Hyundai Elantra is seen inside of a Hyundai car dealership in Des Planines, Ill. Major automakers are reporting Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, that sales increased for October despite losing three days of business to the punishing rain and wind from superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: December 3, 2012 6:49AM

Americans bought new cars and trucks at a healthy pace in October even as Superstorm Sandy wiped out sales in the Northeast late in the month.

U.S. sales of new cars and trucks rose 7 percent from a year earlier to 1.1 million, and most major carmakers reported gains. October sales ran at an annual rate of 14.3 million, according to Autodata Corp., which would be a strong improvement from the 12.8 million last year.

Demand this year has been fueled by low interest rates and aging cars that need replacement. Americans also are feeling better about the economy and jobs, key drivers of sales.

In October, Volkswagen led all major companies with a 22 percent sales increase over the same period last year. Toyota sales were up 16 percent, and Honda sales rose 8.8 percent. In Detroit, Chrysler sales climbed 10 percent, General Motors was up 5 and Ford rose slightly. AP

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