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GM, Toyota, Chrysler and VW auto sales rise in September; Ford lags

October 02, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • Chevy Silverado pickup truckson display at a General Motors Co. dealership in Peoria, Ill. GM reported its highest September U.S. sales since 2008, though its truck business fell 20% because of fewer sales to fleet customers.
Chevy Silverado pickup truckson display at a General Motors Co. dealership… (Bloomberg News )

Most automakers posted sales gains in September.

Chrysler Group said it sold 142,041 vehicles in the U.S. last month, a 12% improvement from the same month a year earlier and its best September since 2007.

Toyota reported monthly U.S. sales of 171,910 vehicles, up 41.5% from a year earlier.

General Motors Co. said its sales rose almost 2% to 210,245 vehicles, its highest September U.S. sales since 2008. Passenger cars were particularly brisk sellers for GM but its truck business lagged, falling 20% because of a reduction in sales to fleet customers.

Volkswagen Group of America said it sold 36,339 vehicles in the U.S. last month, a 34.4% increase and its best September since 1972.

But Ford Motor Co. sales stalled. The carmaker sold 174,976 vehicles in September, about 200 fewer than the same period a year earlier.

Auto information company estimated that automakers sold a little more than 1.1 million vehicles in September.

“There’s a feeling among dealers and automakers that car sales are easing into cruise control, and that’s a good feeling for an industry that’s felt more than its share of bumps in the last few years,” said analyst Jessica Caldwell.

Credit requirements are more lenient, allowing more people to purchase or lease vehicles, and buyers continue to replace older cars that they held on to during the recession and the sluggish economic recovery.

"With our current product line up, record-low interest rates and a stable U.S. economy, we remain optimistic about the health of the U.S. new vehicle sales industry and our position in it," said Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s U.S. sales chief.

The industry is on track to sell about 14.4 million autos this year, about a 12% gain from 2011.

“Even though the lack of big movements in car sales makes for less attractive headlines, the stable growth in sales is a positive for the industry,” said Jesse Toprak, an analyst at auto price information company

Steady growth this year has allowed the carmakers to plan production schedules, avoid price wars and improve profits, he said.

“The car business right now is extremely positive,” Toprak


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