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September 2014 Auto Sales: Consumers Continue Buying Cars in Record Numbers

September 2014 Auto Sales: Consumers Continue Buying Cars in Record Numbers

By Jeff Youngs, October 01, 2014

The auto industry continued to experience a significant rebound in sales during September of 2014, with most automakers reporting year-over-year sales gains. While pundits continue to predict a softening of sales, whatever downturn may be coming remains on the horizon as several auto brands recorded record sales last month. Overall, sales were up 9% for the month, compared with September 2013.

What is driving demand for new vehicles?

"The U.S. economy keeps getting better," said Steven Szakaly, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association, in an interview with Automotive News. Szakaly says pent-up consumer demand is driving sales, and declining gas prices have more people choosing trucks and SUVs than in recent years.

Great deals are also a part of the equation. According to TrueCar and Edmunds, average discounts from sticker price range from about $2,400 to $2,800 per vehicle, with some automakers increasing rebates, incentives, and other sales "spiffs" by significant margins in order to keep new cars, trucks, and SUVs rolling off of showroom floors.

Adam Jonas, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, continues to warn that sales will ultimately pull back from where they are today, but moderated the urgency of his commentary in light of annual fall promotional campaigns, such as the deals General Motors offered on its trucks in September, which fueled GM's light-truck sales last month (up 42% compared with the same month last year).

Highlights: September 2014 Car Sales

Additional detail about September 2014 car sales is provided in the sections that follow:

American Honda--Together, Acura and Honda sales rose 12%, with Acura up 19% on initial demand for the new TLX sedan. Honda rose 11% on the strength of Accord and Fit sales, while the CR-V enjoyed its best September sales ever.

BMW Group--Though Mini dealers have a new, redesigned Cooper Hardtop to sell, sales were down 21% compared with last year, limiting BMW Group's overall sales increase to 3%. The BMW brand rose 9%, while Rolls-Royce sales increased 6%.

Chrysler Group--Collectively, Chrysler Group brand sales rose 19%, all marques except for Dodge posting increases. Jeep, Ram, and thanks to a redesigned 200, Chrysler rose by double digits over last year, with Jeep surging 47% and Ram rising 35%. Automotive News reports that Chrysler has some of the highest incentives in the industry.

Daimler AG--Sales increased 10% for Daimler AG, compared with the same time last year. Smart sales rose 20%, from 625 vehicles to 748 vehicles.

Ford Motor Company--Ford Motor Company sales fell 3% because the automaker's fleet sales dropped by 14%, the company said. Ford brand retail sales rose 2%, and Lincoln brand sales increased 13%. Redesigned Mustang and F-150 models are due to arrive in showrooms soon, as well as a refreshed Focus.

General Motors--In September, GM offered big discounts on its redesigned pickup trucks, and increased fleet sales by 30%. This combination of actions drove sales 19% higher than last year, led by GMC at 28%. Chevrolet rose 20%, Buick climbed 12%, and Cadillac sales were flat.

Hyundai Group--Together, Hyundai and Kia sales rose 7%, with Hyundai increasing 2% and Kia rising 7%. Hyundai cited continued demand for its Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport crossover SUVs, while the Soul and Sportage models fueled Kia sales.

Jaguar Land Rover--Taken together, Jaguar and Land Rover sales declined 10%, with both brands decreasing in volume compared with last year.

Maserati--Maserati continued its triple-digit, year-over-year sales increases in September, improving by 248%. Thank you, new Ghibli model.

Mazda--Mazda sales rose 7% compared with last September, with the CX-5 small crossover SUV posting best-ever September sales. The Mazda 6 remained strong, too, achieving the model's highest September sales figure in nearly a decade.

Mitsubishi--Mitsubishi continued to increase its year-over-year sales in September, thanks to a rise in deliveries of 39%. The automaker credits its entry-level Mirage and popular Outlander Sport models as leading increased demand for the brand.

Nissan Group--Nissan Group's sales rose 19% in September, with Nissan brand sales climbing 22%. Sentra sales rose a whopping 61%, while the Altima remained relatively flat at 2%. The Rogue crossover SUV remains popular, and the Leaf electric car, Frontier pickup, and Murano crossover SUV all saw robust September sales increases. Sales for Nissan Group's Infiniti brand declined by 13%.

Subaru--Subaru sold more than 40,000 vehicles in September of 2014, representing an increase of 31% over the same month last year. Subaru reported that September was the best month ever for its Forester, Legacy, Outback, and XV Crosstrek models.

Tesla--Electric luxury vehicle manufacturer Tesla reported sales of its Model S rose 14% in September, compared with the same month in 2013.

Toyota Group--Toyota Group sales rose 2% in September, with premium brand Lexus increasing 12% and Toyota rising by 1%. Scion sales fell, though, by 19% compared with September of 2013. The automaker's SUVs prevented a sales decline for Toyota, while Lexus buyers pushed CT, GS, and IS sales higher by double-digit gains over last year.

Volkswagen Group--Volkswagen Group's overall sales declined 9%, with the Volkswagen brand posting a 19% decline and Bentley sagging 7%. Notably, Audi sales rose 14%, the new A3 model making up for declines in A4 and A6 sales, while Porsche sales increased 17%.

Volvo--Volvo sales increased in September, compared with the same time last year. Up 11% overall, the Swedish luxury brand's improvement was fueled by the S60 sedan and XC60 SUV.

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