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Detroit's Big 3 Post Strong September Sales

October 05, 1994|From Associated Press

DETROIT — The Big Three domestic auto makers said Tuesday that September sales were nearly 10% ahead of a year ago, prompting company officials to again predict a strong finish for the year.

"There's more room there to grow," said General Motors Corp. Executive Vice President William Hoglund after the company reported car sales 22.3% higher than in September last year and an increase of 4.8% in light-truck sales.

Ford Motor Co.'s sales of cars and trucks rose a combined 7.8% higher over a year ago. Chrysler Corp. was up slightly overall, but its car sales lost ground against last year for the fifth month in a row.

"We've had several plants closed down as we've retooled for new models," said Thomas J. Osborn, director of sales and marketing operations planning at Chrysler. The auto makers are launching most 1995 models this month.

Several new, high-volume cars and trucks are expected to keep the market hot through fall.

"In addition to pent-up demand and great new product, the current market is being driven by relatively cheap and readily available credit, plus aggressive lease deals," said Tom Webb, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Assn.

Ford retook the lead in September in the race for bragging rights to the country's best-selling car. In August, the Honda Accord had passed Ford's Taurus, but Taurus rebounded with a strong September and was leading Accord for the year's first nine months by about 2,300 sales.

U.S. sales by the industry as a whole were 7.3% ahead of September, 1993.

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