U.S. light-vehicle sales surged in September to a 54-month-high seasonally adjusted annual rate and marked the 25th consecutive monthly increase year-over-year.
Consumers seeking fuel economy appeared to dominate the market, as small and midsize cars posted strong gains while large trucks continued to stumble.
, and Volkswagen continued their strong performances from August, propelling the industry’s overall gain with some help from .
Industry volume totaled 1.184 million units in September, equaling a daily rate of 47,352 vehicles, 12.7% above year-ago’s 42,013 – 25 selling days both periods. Deliveries have increased every month since a 17.9% year-over-year decline in August 2010.
To-date volume through September is 14.5% ahead of like-2011.
The month’s 14.9 million SAAR marks the highest tally since a similar result in March 2008. The year-to-date SAAR increased to 14.24 million from the prior month’s 14.16 million.
Cars, which set a record in August for average fuel economy, according to the WardsAuto Fuel Economy Index, might well have done so again in September.
Sales of small cars increased a whopping 43.5% from year ago, and midsize cars were up a strong 17.5%. If not for lean inventory on some models, midsize cars might have been even stronger.
On the opposite end, sales of large light trucks – large pickups and vans and large/luxury SUVS and CUVs – fell 7.3% in September. That pushed the year-to-date share for large trucks down to 17.2%, from 18.5% in like 2011.
Among the major manufacturers,led with a 41.5% sales increase over year-ago, outrunning for the second time this year on volume of 171,910 units. Toyota’s results followed a 42.0% increase in August and boosted its year-to-date gain to 31.6%.
recorded a 0.9% drop from year-ago, largely due to lean inventory of its redesigned Ford Fusion and Escape. It was its first decline since August 2010.
Ford’s market share dropped to 14.4% compared to year-ago’s 16.4%, the third time this year its penetration slipped below 15% and marking its lowest share since 13.9% in August 2009. To date through September, Ford controls 15.3% of the market, down from year-ago’s 16.6%.
posted 30.9% increase over like-2011, boosting year-to-date sales 24.0%.
Volkswagen/Audi recorded a 32.3% rise over year-ago, its 36th straight gain. VWA’s 4.1% September market share barely edged Kia’s penetration, but its year-to-date share of 3.9% still lags the latter’s 4.0%, as the two vie for seventh place.
sales rose 11.7% from year-ago, the 30th consecutive increase, while sales slipped 1.1%, its first decline since May 2011.
Other manufacturers recording September increases included(3.5%), (8.8%), (15.3%), Jaguar/Land Rover (11.1%), Porsche (26.1%) and Subaru (32.2%).
In addition to Ford and, others with declines were , , Suzuki and Volvo.