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September U.S. Auto Sales Finish on a Soft Note

September U.S. Auto Sales Finish on a Soft Note

By Philly Murtha, October 02, 2013
U.S. auto sales in September were anticipated to be softer than in previous months following August sales totals that included near-record Labor Day deliveries. There were also two fewer selling days in September 2013 than in the same month a year ago. Put them together and it made for a challenging sales month for auto companies.

September car and light-truck sales reached 1.136 million units, up 4% from last year's equivalent month on a selling-day adjusted basis, according to J.D. Power and strategic partner LMC Automotive. Unadjusted, sales declined by about 4% from September 2012.

Ford Motor Co. reported that sales were up 6% from the same month a year ago on an unadjusted basis--the best totals for the company for any September since 2006. The Detroit-based automaker sold about 2,000 fewer new vehicles than did the largest U.S. automaker, General Motors. Chrysler-Fiat deliveries also edged up 1% from a year ago.

Other automakers posted declines on an unadjusted basis. In spite of healthy gains for Buick and Cadillac brands, GM posted an 11% decline on an unadjusted basis. Toyota Group sales slipped 4%, but when adjusted for two fewer selling days, its deliveries actually rose 4%. On an unadjusted basis, Honda (-10%) and Nissan (-6%) Groups and South Korea's Hyundai (-14%) Group posted small declines from September 2012.

Among the European automakers, BMW (+8%) and Daimler (+6%) Groups posted stronger year-over-year unadjusted sales gains. Volkswagen Group's (-6%) premium Audi and Porsche sales increases could not offset a drop in VW brand deliveries. Jaguar and Land Rover sales edged up 1% with an especially strong month for the Jaguar niche brand. Sweden's Volvo (-16%) also posted lower deliveries for the month vs. last year.

Fuji Heavy Industries' Subaru brand likely posted the best monthly gain among independents and most multi-brand automakers, with a year-over-year double-digit gain of 15% on an unadjusted basis. Mazda's sales dipped slightly and Mitusbishi Motors' (-17%) deliveries also fell from year-ago totals.

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