Auto sales rise 13% in September

Oct 3, 2012

As U.S. car buyers regain consumer confidence, replace aging cars and cash in on low-interest rates, auto sales remained strong in September led by gains of more than 30% for Toyota, Volkswagen, American Honda, Fiat and Kia.

From September of last year, Fiat sales surged 51%, Toyota sales climbed 42%, Volkswagen sales rose 32% and Kia sales grew 35%. American Honda reported an increase of 31%, while Dodge saw an 18% increase.

Although Chrysler, which has reported sales gains for 30 straight months, posted a 12% increase, its Detroit neighbors saw sales fall flat. GM said its sales were up just 2% from last year, but reported its highest September U.S. sales numbers since 2008.

Ford’s sales remained practically the same from this time last year with no increase or decrease. Its truck deliveries slipped 8%, partly due to the discontinuation of the mid-size Ranger pickup. However, Ford experienced its best U.S. small car sales since 2002 with a 73% year-over-year increase.

Nissan, which is still recovering from last year’s earthquake in Japan, experienced a sales decrease of 1.1%.

The total annualized pace of U.S. sales rose to 14.9 million, the highest rate since March 2008. Up 13% from September 2011, the overall results topped analysts’ predictions and signaled that the ever-recovering auto industry is likely to end the year on a positive note, as reported by David Phillips of Automotive News.

September marked the fourth consecutive month and seventh month this year the SAAR has topped 14 million. Kelly Blue Book reported the best-selling segments were compact crossovers, large pickups and subcompact cars.

Carmakers’ release of several attractive new models is also a factor driving healthy sales figures; revamped Honda Accords, Ford Fusions and Chevy Malibus are just hitting showrooms. Although discounts on remaining 2012 models also helped sales, incentives from automakers decreased from last year.

According to auto pricing site TrueCar.com, the average incentive for the month was $2,468, down almost 7% from the same time last year.