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September Sales Outlook Remains Stable Despite Cracks

Average transaction prices at all-time high.

by on Sep.27, 2016

A new sales forecast shows September auto sales expecting to be down slightly, but stable for the remainder of 2016.

Sales of new vehicles are expected to decline in September, raising the specter of a cyclical decline in new car and truck sales, according to a new analysis by J.D. Power & Associates and LMC Automotive.

“For the fifth time in the past seven months, U.S. new-vehicle retail sales are expected to drop in September, falling 1.4% from a year ago,” the updated version of the monthly analysis by the two firms noted.

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Labor Day weekend is typically one of the highest volume sales weekends in the year. (more…)

September Car Sales Hold Strong as Summer Fades Away

Sales likely the best since 2007.

by on Sep.26, 2014

If anything, Mercedes-Benz USA says it could double sales of the new CLA if it could get more.

Summer may be fading into fall, but the U.S. auto market continues to sizzle, industry analysts anticipating sales will be the best, when the final numbers are tallied, since before the recession began.

On a seasonally adjust annual rate, or SAAR, the industry is expected to report a 16.4 million pace, well above the initial forecast for all of 2014 — and a hint that the car market could show even more momentum in the months to come as fuel prices fall and the economy gains more momentum.

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“We expect another strong month for the industry with the best September since 2007,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar.

Equally significant, the late-summer surge seems to have come without the hefty incentive push seen in the past to build market momentum.

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Car Sales Sputter in September

But first downturn in 27 months may not be as bad as it first seems.

by on Oct.01, 2013

Ford bucked the sales downturn in September enjoying a 6% increase with F-Series leading the way to the rise.

With the government shutdown looming and the economy sputtering, demand for new cars, trucks and crossovers fell back to earth in September after a torrid summer sales spurt. It would be the first year-over-year downturn in 27 months of recovery.

With demand sliding, makers also had to rein in the price increases of recent months and, in some cases, boost rebates and other incentives, halting a rapid climb in the prices American motorists have been paying in recent months.

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But while General Motors was one of several makers to post a downturn in sales compared to last year, Ford and Chrysler both were able to deliver unexpectedly strong increases for the month. The two makers were able to ride the continuing surge in demand for pickup truck sales buoyed by a modest revival in the U.S. housing market. (more…)

Automakers Brace for September Sales Slide

But industry is still running ahead of early-2013 forecasts.

by on Sep.27, 2013

By a fluke of the calendar, Labor Day sales wound up in the August column this year.

Are the cool days of autumn coming faster than anticipated? Preliminary numbers suggest that the automotive sales boom, at least, is cooling down after a torrid summer that took almost everyone by surprise.

Though the industry won’t release final numbers until next week, the sales pace has clearly slowed during September, according to reports from both manufacturers and analysts alike. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales, or SAAR, is projected to fall from a hot 16.1 million units in August to something closer to 15.2 million this month.

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“September 2013 new-vehicle sales represent the first year-over-year drop since May 2011, due to slower retail sales, two fewer sales days in the month, and this year’s Labor Day sales included in August 2013 totals,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

On the positive side, the summer surge means that 2013 is still likely to be the industry’s best year since before the nation’s economy collapsed – and sales seem on track to surpass the forecasts most experts made early in 2013 which called for volume to slide somewhere between 15.0 and 15.5 million.

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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 TrueCar.com.

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Light Truck Sales on the Rise: Is Wall St out of Touch With Main St?

Lower fuel prices help, but increase also may signal optimism among the working class.

by on Oct.04, 2011

Will sales of full-size pickups help pull the overall economy along?

Does Main Street know something Wall Street doesn’t?  That’s a question observers are asking as they explore the minutiae of the September U.S. auto sales figures.  Overall sales posted a strong upturn – reaching their highest annualized rate since last April – buoyed in part by demand for pickups and other light trucks.

That jump clearly was linked to the sharp decline in fuel prices – buyers in some parts of the country now seeing pumps set below $3 a gallon – but it may also indicate a renewed optimism among America’s working class.  These days, the so-called personal use truck market has largely dried up, most pickup buyers actually using their vehicles for works.

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“It’s definitely a positive sign,” said David Sullivan, auto analyst with AutoPacific, Inc.  “I think the increase…says things may not be as bad as all the doom and gloom we’re hearing.”

During September, the annualized sales rate increased to 13 million, a surprising upturn considering the crash on Wall Street and steady news coverage of what could be the beginning of a double-dip recession.  While overall new vehicle sales rose 10%, the figures were even bigger in the various light truck segments, which together captured 54% of the market, the biggest percentage for all of 2011.

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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.

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Preliminary Signs September Car Sales Soared – But So Did Incentives

Givebacks atyear’s highpoint; transaction prices plummet.

by on Oct.03, 2011

With supplies low on models like the Elantra, Hyundai was one maker able to slash incentives last month.

While only a handful of manufacturers have so far released their September sales numbers, the figures could provide some rare good news for an economy teetering towards another recession.  General Motors Co., Chrysler Group and Volkswagen have all reported double-digit sales increases for September despite the uncertain economic climate that has prevailed during the last few months.

VW led the way with a 36% sales increase, while Chrysler reported a 27% increase and GM said its sales increased 20% compared with September 2010.

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But there appears to be a downside: industry analysts are reporting that it appears incentives surged to their highest levels in a year, while transaction prices – what consumers actually pay for a specific vehicle – slumped sharply.

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Sales Numbers Show Toyota Still Taking Hits From Safety Scandal

Latest sales up, but lagging key competitors despite hefty incentives.

by on Oct.05, 2010

Like its American rivals, Toyota now sells more trucks than passenger cars in the U.S. market.

Half-empty or half-full, Toyota’s performance in the U.S. market last month all depends on your point of view.

The maker reported what were unarguably its best sales numbers in five months during September, a 16.8% increase, prompting Group Vice President Bob Carter to proclaim, “Sales, in fact, were so strong during Labor Day, it felt like 2006 again.”

But after a year-long crisis that has undermined consumer confidence in the Toyota brand, the sales numbers for the current year indicate the Japanese auto giant has suffered some serious and potentially long-lasting damage.

While the sales improvement in September was certainly a bright spot, Toyota’s increase was notably smaller than those posted by several key competitors, including Ford Motor Co., Hyundai, Honda, Nissan and even Chrysler as the overall seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, for the U.S. market increased to 11.8 million units.

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Strong sales of the  RAV4 , 4Runner Highlander sport- utility vehicles, Sienna minivans, Prius hybrids and Tacoma pickup trucks gave Toyota a boost during September,  the company said.

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September Car Sales Post Unexpected Surge

Surprisingly strong month suggests recovery in the offing.

by on Oct.01, 2010

Sales of the Ford Transit Connect nearly doubled in September, suggesting a recovery on the small business side of the economy, Ford Marketing Chief Jim Farley said.

What seemed likely to be, at best, a mediocre month has turned out to be an unexpectedly solid sign pointing to a recovery of the struggling U.S. auto market, industry experts and analysts say.

Detroit makers, in particular, reported significant gains for September – Ford sales up 46%, year-over-year, Chrysler up 61% — but, with rare exception, the entire industry seemed to have gained momentum during the final portion of the month, according to those who track dealer activity.

In fact, Audi’s record September volume helped it report an all-time record for the entire third quarter. Japanese maker Subaru also announced it had set an all-time September sales record, gaining 47% compared to the same period a year ago.

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In an exclusive interview at the Paris Motor Show, Ford Global Marketing Director Jim Farley told TheDetroitBureau.com that he is “encouraged with our performance” in September.  All the more significant, he stressed, was what Ford saw on the light truck side of the business.  Its Transit Connect van, for example, nearly doubled sales, mostly to small businesses.  Echoed by similar numbers at other makers, the executive suggests “that is a sign small business is coming back.”

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