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Solid September Car Sales Set Stage For Strong Close To Year

DETROIT -- (WWJ) Car and truck sales posted another double digit increase in September, showing no sign of slowing down following a strong summer.

"Right now we are about at parity to where we were pre-recession," said analyst Jeremy Acevedo.

September's Seasonally Adjusted Annual Sales Rate hovering in the mid 16 million range. Off from a post-recession peak in August, but still very strong.

August was helped by extra sales days and an early Labor Day weekend, prompting concerns that sales were being pulled ahead, and we would see "payback" in September.

"The expected payback just didn't happen," said LMC Automotive analyst Jeff Schuster. "The numbers we are seeing now are showing true strength over the spectrum of the industry."

Chrysler and General Motors both posted sales gains of 19 percent. Ford sales dropped 3 percent, due to lower inventories of pickup trucks, caused by the change-over to a new F-150.

"Chevy GMC and Ram looking like they are taking a little advantage with the F-150 launch," said Schuster."

Ford still had several strong performers, including the Explorer, the Fusion and the Lincoln brand.

“Lincoln produced its best sales results in seven years with the recent introduction of our all-new Lincoln MKC,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.

Crossovers and SUV's were extremely popular in September. That pushed Jeep sales up 47 percent, propelling Chrysler's good showing.

“Continued consumer demand for our new Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan, our Jeep models, and the Ram pickup truck helped Chrysler Group achieve a 19 percent sales increase in September and our 54th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth,” said Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales. “Chrysler Group sales continue to demonstrate strength as we recorded our seventh month of double-digit growth this year.”

Both Chrysler and General Motors are expected to keep promoting pickup trucks as long as they have the advantage over Ford.

“We will have improved availability of heavy-duty pickups and large SUVs in the months ahead, and the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are arriving in showrooms as we speak," said GM's Kurt McNeil. "This sets us up to finish the year on a very strong note.”

As we head into the fourth quarter, the auto industry is expected to close the year on a strong note.

"Looking at the health of the overall industry here in the U.S., it continues to show strength and resilience," said LMC Automotive's Jeff Schuster. "We're looking at a market that continues to grow."

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