September Auto Sales Take A Powder
But for pretty much everyone else, numbers dipped. At 11%, General Motors was down more than others, although Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said its Buick and Cadillac brands saw gains driven by smaller vehicles: the Caddie ATS and Buick Encore. He noted that Chevrolet dropped because of the model-year changeover for its revamped line of pickups as well as a slower-than-expected month for Cruze, which resides in the small car category, which has taken over as the big-volume car segment. "Looking ahead, GM is well-positioned to get back on a growth trajectory; however, market share will remain hard fought in nearly every category in which they compete.”
Ford said it benefited from sales of Fusion (which is arguably a full-size car) which was up 62% and Fiesta was up 29%, which Ford says set a record for the month. The other key to Ford's profit volume was F-Series, which saw its fifth-straight month above 60,000 sales.
Edmunds.com senior analyst Bill Visnic writes that Ford's success is partly due to its balanced product line, "especially in the face of any industry headwinds there might have been in September." He said Ford's F-Series pickup, with a 10% increase, was a special standout -- especially in the face of the launch of the new Silverado from Chevrolet. "And it's difficult to ignore the 14% gain for Ford's car sales."
Honda posted a 9.9% slip versus last September, but still positive on year-to-date, which is about 8%. The company's eponymous brand was down about 10%, and Acura around 19%. Toyota Motor Sales posted a 4.3% decrease versus the month last year. Nissan posted a 5.5% drop from last year, with Nissan division sales down 5.6%. Infiniti sales were off 4.3%.
It's important to note that September had two fewer selling days than the month last year, so as they say, "results may vary." You can sell a lot of cars in two days so the month looks less salutary than it really was.