Car sales deferred and created by Hurricane Sandy helped to get the US auto industry back on track in November, according to Edmunds.com, which forecast that 1,107,378 new cars and trucks will be sold for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 15m, a strong increase over October’s SAAR of 14.3m.

Earlier this month, insurers estimated the storm, which hit the north-east of the US particularly hard, had damaged about 230,000 vehicles.

“The fact that November sales have bounced back from a sluggish October suggests that those who lost cars or who deferred purchases after Hurricane Sandy are already getting back on the road,” said senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. “Fortunately for these buyers, they entered a market in which holiday and year-end deals were in full swing and loan rates hovered near all-time lows.”

The hurricane affected a region of the country that accounts for about 20% of all new car sales, and as a result about 30,000 sales were either lost or deferred in October. In addition, Edmunds reckons 200,000 to 250,000 vehicles were damaged or destroyed by Sandy leading to an estimated 65,000 to 80,000 replacement new cars or trucks.

Edmunds reckons November’s sales will rise 1.4% over October 2012 and 11.3% year on year. Retail SAAR will be 12.6m in November with fleet deals accounting for 15.9% of total sales.