Rival US car buyers guides Edmunds.com and TrueCar .com are barely 5,000 units apart in their forecasts for October 2012 new car sales – Edmunds’ crystal ball said 1,132,878 new cars would be sold for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 14.8m light vehicles, the second-highest monthly SAAR this year (behind September’s 14.9m) and the best October since the 16.1m in 2007.

TrueCar predicted new light vehicle sales of 1,137,744 units, up 11.5% year on year, down 4.2% from September 2012, and SAAR of 14.9m, up from 13.3m in October 2011 and down from 14.9m last month.

Edmunds said the biggest October surprises are reserved for Honda and Nissan which it projects will enjoy their largest sales for the month ever in the US.

“Honda’s estimated sales this month are poised to top its previous October high of 114,799 sales in 2007. Meanwhile, Nissan’s projected sales this month could surpass its October record of 86,626 sales in 2004. The results indicate strong performances by the automakers’ popular redesigned models, the 2013 Accord and the 2013 Altima ,” Edmunds said.

“These record-breaking numbers are a testament to the American car buyer’s appetite for all-new redesigned and refreshed models,” said senior analyst Michelle Krebs. “The Accord and Altima have been hits for Honda and Nissan, respectively, for a very long time, and when you can make a good thing even better, the market will absolutely respond.”

Edmunds estimates that October’s projected sales will be a 4.6% decrease from September 2012 but an 11.1% increase (unadjusted for number of selling days) from October 2011. Retail SAAR will come in at 12.1m vehicles in October, with fleet transactions accounting for 18.3% of total sales. An estimated 3.1m used cars will be sold in October, for a SAAR of 36.9m (compared to 3.1m – or a SAAR of 36.8m – used car sales in September).

General Motors and Chrysler are expected to be the only two major automakers to see their market shares slip this month, according to that forecast. GM’s market share is projected to fall 0.4% from September to 17.3% but that is attributed to a decline in fleet sales. Retail sales are expected to be slightly up for GM, but the same is not true for Chrysler. Chrysler’s share is expected to slip 0.5 points to 11.4% of all cars sold in the US.

“Every automaker can have a bad month, but this isn’t exactly the best timing for GM and Chrysler,” said Krebs. “Their October sales numbers are under more of a microscope than usual with election day around the corner and the auto bailout top of mind for the presidential candidates, many voters and a host of pundits.”

TrueCar said retail sales are up 8.6% compared to October 2011 and down 3.9% from September 2012. Fleet and rental sales are expected to make up 18.1% of total industry sales in October 2012

The industry average incentive spending per unit will be approximately US$2,353 in October 2012, which represents an decrease of 5.6% from October 2011 and decrease of 2.9% from September 2012.

Used car sales are estimated to be 3,220,457, up 10.8% from October 2011 and down 8.3% from September 2012. The ratio of new to used is estimated to be 1:3 for October 2012.

“New car sales are on automatic pilot. October was a robust start to Q4 sales with most manufacturers posting double digit gains while continuing to lower incentives spending,” said senior analyst Jesse Toprak. “We expect this recovery momentum to continue into the next year, with 2013 sales reaching 15.5m units.”

“Incentives continue to decline with October being the lowest month since May, 2011,” said analyst Kristen Andersson. “Honda’s incentives declined 13% from last month as their inventory of model year 2012 Accords sold out, which were heavily discounted in September.”

For full data from both forecasters, click on Press Release button below