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Toyota sees post-Sandy boost to November auto sales

A visitor is reflected on a Toyota car at the company's showroom in Tokyo October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
A visitor is reflected on a Toyota car at the company's showroom in Tokyo October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> U.S. executive Jim Lentz said consumers purchasing new vehicles to replace those lost during Superstorm Sandy will mean strong November U.S. auto sales.

On a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, November U.S. sales will be between 14.8 million and 15.2 million new vehicles, said Lentz, president and chief executive of Toyota Motor Sales, USA.

Lentz, speaking on the sidelines of a J.D. Power and Associates and National Automobile Dealers Association conference on Tuesday, said Toyota believes 400,000 cars and trucks were destroyed by Sandy, and that 100,000 of those were new vehicles.

Sales will be robust in November throughout the United States, Lentz said, and particularly strong in the New York area where consumers are replacing cars destroyed by Sandy.

John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co, also at the conference, said he expects November sales at an annualized pace of "right around 15 million."

In November 2011, the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate was 13.5 million new vehicles, and last month was 14.3 million, according to TrueCar.com.

TrueCar on Tuesday forecast U.S. November auto sales up 13 percent from a year ago, with a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 15.2 million new vehicles.

Toyota's sales will rise 17 percent from last November, TrueCar forecast.

Honda Motor Co <7267.T> November U.S. sales will rise the most among major automakers, at 32 percent, TrueCar said.

TrueCar forecast November sales increases from year-ago levels for all major automakers in the U.S. market.

Among the other top five automakers in the U.S. market, True Car said General Motors Co will show a rise of 9 percent; Ford Motor Co 1.5 percent; and Chrysler Group LLC, majority owned by Fiat SpA , 18 percent.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Gary Hill and Tim Dobbyn)

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