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US sales shift up a gear

In overdrive: Hyundai Sonata sales jumped 161 per cent in the US last month - and the turbo variant is still to come.

Chrysler Group sales up 61 per cent as American motor industry recovery gathers pace

General News logo4 Oct 2010


THE American motor industry drew a line under the United States’ economic recovery last month when dealer deliveries of new light vehicles soared 29 per cent over September last year.

Led by a 61 per cent sales recovery by the rejuvenated Chrysler Group, the US industry sold 959,049 cars and light trucks for the month compared with 746,124 a year ago, with pick-up truck sales particularly vibrant.

With three-quarters of the year gone, the US market has gained 10 per cent on 2009 and is on target to top 11.5 million units for the year.

All manufacturers and importers reported healthy sales increases, with the exception of Suzuki, whose decline into irrelevance on the American market continued with a further 12 per cent slide, to just 1641 sales in September.

By contrast, rival importers Hyundai and Subaru reported gains of 47 per cent and 48 per cent respectively, with both smashing their September sales records.

80 center imageFrom top: Subaru Outback, Ford F-Series and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Chrysler Group sales topped 100,000 in September, with the fresh Jeep Grand Cherokee leading the charge, up 95 per cent over September 2009, when all Chrysler Group brands were battling to find their feet after being rescued from oblivion by Fiat.

Chrysler edged Honda out of fourth place, behind General Motors (172,969), Ford (160,873) and Toyota (147,162).

Ford continued to make ground on GM, with Blue Oval sales rising 46 per cent on the back of strong pick-up and SUV volumes.

The top-selling F-Series pick-up was back and flying, up 40 per cent on last September to 47,433 sales, while the Edge, Fusion and Escape all set September sales records.

Sales of GM’s four remaining brands in the US (Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac) increased 22 per cent. If defunct brands such as Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab are included in 2009 figures, the overall group gain is 11 per cent.

Like Ford, GM enjoyed strong demand for its full-sized pick-ups (up 62 per cent) and compact crossovers (up 101 per cent).

GMC sales were up 42 per cent, compared with Chevrolet’s rise of 19 per cent, Buick’s increase of 36 per cent and Cadillac’s rise of 11 per cent.

Even better news for GM is that retail demand last month outstripped deliveries by a sizeable margin, ensuring continued strong sales in coming months. Buick orders zoomed up 96 per cent over last year.

While Toyota deliveries rose 17 per cent in September, the world number one continues to slip against the US market in general, which rose 29 per cent.

Subaru’s new Outback has helped to drive the Japanese-based company to new heights in the US, with sales of the all-wheel drive crossover almost doubling this year.

At Hyundai, the new Sonata swept all before it, with sales jumping 161 per cent on the same month last year, to 20,639 vehicles.

Sonata sales alone were greater than the range sales for well-known brands such as Mazda and BMW.

Sales of the Hyundai Genesis luxury car also doubled, hitting a best-ever 3230 units last month.

Hyundai Motor America expects continued growth in the fourth quarter as the 2011 model Georgia-built Santa Fe reaches dealerships, along with the all-new Alabama-built Sonata turbo.

Together with subsidiary Kia, sales for the Korean car-maker topped 76,000, pipping the combined sales of Nissan/Infiniti (74,205), despite a 34 per cent increase in deliveries by the latter.

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