Despite economy, September vehicle sales beat forecasts

Oct 4, 2011

Even with such economic indicators such as housing starts being low and the 9.1% unemployment being too high, new-vehicle sales in September came in stronger than expected, with trucks and SUV sales performing especially well. And that bodes potentially well for a third-quarter boost for the restyling market.

General Motors Co. reported its September total sales comprised a 20% increase compared with September 2010. Retail deliveries were up 19% compared with the same month a year ago and accounted for 74% of GM sales with crossover vehicles boosting the numbers. Deliveries to fleet customers increased 22%.

Kia Motors America announced its best-ever September sales of an 18.4% increase over the same period last year and the company’s thirteenth straight monthly sales record. Kia’s design-led transformation has delivered unprecedented growth and market share gains, and with year-to-date sales up more than 37%, Kia America bested its previous record annual sales total in less than nine months. Kia’s partner company, Hyundai, had an 18% gain in September 2011.

Audi of America reported record September U.S. sales topping the previous record of vehicles sold in 2010. September 2011 marked the ninth consecutive month of record-setting sales for the brand in the U.S. market. Audi U.S. year-to-date sales date grew 15.5%. The luxury car brand has recorded record sales in 13 out of the past 14 months.

Chrysler noted a 27% increase in September year-over-year sales, noting this was the Detroit automaker’s 18 consecutive month of U.S. gains.

Mazda North American Operations reported September sales jumped 37.4% versus September 2010. Through the end of September, 2011 year-to-date sales are up 9.5% versus last year.

Nissan recorded a 25% year-over-year gain, while Ford saw a 9% jump with pickups and SUVs pushing up its numbers. Toyota, still recovering from the March earthquake and tsunami disasters, reported an 18% decline from September 2010, but is on track to have its U.S. showrooms well stocked this last quarter of 2011 and prepared to boost its numbers. Honda, too, is getting back in the sales saddle; and though its September 2011 sales came in 8% lower than in 2010, also due to the East Japan disasters the carmaker is making gains.

Subaru, which had been one of the very few carmakers to do well during the height of the auto recession, had sales dip 2%.