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US car sales continue to climb
Toyota leads American market to a 13 per cent sales gain in September
3 Oct 2012
AMERICAN vehicle sales jumped 13 per cent in September, even though the biggest homegrown Detroit car-makers – General Motors and Ford – effectively marked time.
The charge was led by Toyota, with sales up 42 per cent compared with the same month last year as it continued its comeback from its 2011 annus horribilis when it was beset by stock shortages due to natural disasters and vehicle recalls.
Armed with a new top-selling Camry that achieved more than 34,000 sales, the Japanese-based automaker came within a handful of sales of beating Ford into second place in the market, clocking up 171,910 sales to the Blue Oval’s 174,976 (the same as September last year).
Other big gains were made by Honda (up 29 per cent), Kia (up 35 per cent) and Volkswagen (up 37 per cent).
Total US light vehicle sales reached 1.18 million units last month, compared with 1.05 in September 2011.
The market is now running 15 per cent higher for the first three quarters of 2012, and seems odds on to top 14 million units this year – its best result since the global financial crisis.
However, much of the market activity in September was generated with the help of incentives, which US analysts say are running at levels similar to 2008 when many companies were scrambling to survive.
From top: Ford F-150 Chevrolet Impala.
Market leader General Motors last month achieved modest 1.5 per cent growth, delivering 210,245 vehicles.
This result was almost entirely due to GM passenger cars, with Chevrolet’s Cruze and Impala leading the way.
GM’s light trucks slumped last month as it entered run-out for some of its biggest players.
Chevrolet is awaiting its new Silverado that is due to go into production in 2013 to replace the current model, sales of which dived 16 per cent to 36,425 units last month.
By contrast, Ford’s hero, the F-Series pick-up, achieved more than 55,000 sales last month to complete its 14th consecutive year of September sales gains.
As well as F-Series, Ford’s small cars helped keep the ship afloat in September, with Focus sales up 91 per cent and Fiesta and the Escape compact SUV all having good sales months.
Fast-growing Kia completed a remarkable 25th consecutive month of year-on-year sales growth, racking up 48,105 units in September – a 35 per cent increase over September last year.
When combined with partner Hyundai’s sales of 60,025 last month, the South Korean conglomerate is now outselling Nissan’s 91,907 units (including Infiniti) and closing in on Honda’s 117,211 vehicles (including Acura).
Chrysler Group – including Jeep, Dodge and newcomer to the US scene Fiat – enjoyed its best September in five years, unloading 142,041 vehicles to slot into fourth place behind GM, Ford and Toyota.
Jeep Grand Cherokee sales were up 19 per cent, helping the off-road marque to a 10 per cent sales gain and its best result since before the GFC.
Volkswagen last month reprised its US glory days of the 1970s, selling 36,339 vehicles – up 37 per cent and its best result since 1972.
The sales growth was led by the new North American-built Passat and the Tiguan small SUV.
Just to prove Americans will buy diesels, VW pointed out that almost a quarter of all its vehicles sold in the US now have diesel engines.
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