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Confident Consumers Boost Automakers' Double-Digit Sales Gains in October


General Motors (GM - Get Report) , Ford (F - Get Report) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) posted double-digit gains sales gains in October, a sign of the auto industry's strength in the U.S. and the continuing sturdiness of the national economy.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for the month appeared headed for the low 18-million level, the strongest month since 2001 when extraordinary incentives were offered to stimulate the national economy in the wake of the attacks of 9/11.

By early Tuesday afternoon, about 80% of the results for car sales had been reported.

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Average transaction prices on new vehicles rose slightly in October to more than $34,000 from the month previous, showing that consumers were willing to spend more on optional equipment and fancier models, according to Kelley Blue Book. An exception was Volkswagen (a>