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U.S. Auto Sales on the Rise for First Time in 2017

The American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) released September sales figures for the international nameplate auto industry. Brands sold by America’s 9,600 international nameplate franchises accounted for more than half, 55.7 percent, of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. in September.

AutoData Corp. reported that the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for September soared to 18.57 million units-the highest since July 2015-versus 17.72 million units a year ago, and just 16.14 million units last month.

Unadjusted for business days, sales of all brands were up 6.1 percent from last September, marking the first rise in month-over-month sales for the year. Sales were still down 1.8 percent year-to-date. Industrywide, 1.52 million vehicles were sold in September compared to 1.48 million sold in August and 1.44 million units sold in September 2017.

“September’s sales exceeded even some of the industry’s most optimistic expectations,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “A combination of post-hurricane vehicle replacement and excellent incentives kept dealerships busy last month. We have every reason to feel positive heading into the final quarter of 2017.”

International brands outperformed their domestic counterparts in September with sales up 7.6 percent from a year ago and down just 0.4 for the year-to-date. Brands like Honda (up 7.4 percent from last September), Toyota (up 16.9 percent), and Volkswagen (up 33.2 percent) lead the charge. Most sales improvements were driven by light trucks, which rose 12.4 percent as a segment from last September, while cars continued to lag, down 3.3 percent from a year ago.

International auto sales in the U.S. totaled 848,906 in September, up from 822,952 vehicles in August and 828,772 vehicles in July. Asian brands occupied 46.5 percent of the September auto market, up slightly from 46.3 percent in August. Overall, Asian nameplate dealers sold 708,049 vehicles in September, a seven percent improvement from September 2016.

European brands sold 140,857 vehicles in September, up from 136,128 vehicles in August and 126,157 vehicles in July. European brands held 9.2 percent of the September U.S. auto market, the same as August 2017 and up from 8.9 percent in September 2016. Overall sales for these brands were up a remarkable 10.6 percent from last September.

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