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September Auto Sales Provide Latest Sign of Economic Rebound

But not all makers shared in the sales boom.

by on Oct.03, 2012

Demand for the new Dart helped Dodge outperform its domestic rivals last month.

For those wondering about the health of the overall U.S. economy, unexpectedly strong September car sales – which reached their highest level since March 2008 – send a signal things are on the right track.

The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate of sales, or SAAR, scrapped up against the 15 million mark, countering earlier forecasts by some analysts expecting the strong pace of the first half of 2012 would slow during the final months of the year.

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That said, September’s numbers, while great for some makers, lagged for others, though even the so-so figures from Ford and General Motors were generally greeted with optimism.

“I’m not worried about this (auto market) running out of steam anytime soon,” said Jesse Toprak, chief analyst for data firm


September Auto Sales Surge – But Worries Remain

Japan’s Toyota, Honda still struggle despite hefty incentives.

by on Oct.03, 2011

Strong demand for the newest Beetle help drive a big month for Volkswagen.

New car sales defied dire economic news and grew in September with several car makers posting healthy sales gains, pushing the industry’s annualized sales rate to nearly 13 million units, the strongest it has been since the economy began showing signs of a double-dip recession.

But there were some worrisome notes amidst the overall bright picture.  The two leading Japanese makers bucked the upward trend again last month despite hefty increases in incentives. Overall, givebacks were up slightly, though some makers were able to cut spending on rebates and cut-rate loans in the face of strong market demand.

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“Auto sales continue to be one of the economy’s few bright spots,” said Robert Carter, Toyota Motor Sales vice president, who also predicted Toyota will start posting positive sales results in October after a long string in sales declines.

Toyota saw another 17.5% drop, year-over-year as the maker continued to struggle to overcome the impact of Japan’s devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.  Honda, meanwhile, saw its numbers fall 8% last month.  Both makers took sharp cuts in production due to supply issues but both Toyota and Honda say they are now back up and running at normal speeds.