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.