As it turns out North America doesn't have a monopoly on crappy October vehicles sales numbers. It seems things are tough all over. European car sales suffered their worst October since 1996 according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. France, Spain and the UK were the biggest losers, down 5.8, 9.6 and 10.8 percent respectively. The UK blamed it on a slowing economy and higher interest rates. Spain suffered from a two-day transport strike. The article doesn't say why France was having a hard time.
In comparison U.S. October sales were the lowest since August 1998. I'm pretty sure the cause for the slump in 1998 was people were too busy working 16 hours a day on their online start-up IPO dreams to buy cars. I could be wrong.