Chrysler Sales Up 27%; GM Up 20%

By Michelle Krebs October 3, 2011

Sept Sales Leap lede.jpg

Chrysler’s September sales soared 27 percent over a year ago and GM sales rose 20 percent, as the two were the first major automakers Monday to report September vehicle sales, which are forecasted to be at the highest monthly rate since April. September GM sales included strong performances from crossovers and trucks. At Chevrolet, Equinox sales were up 33 percent from a year ago, Chevrolet Silverado pick-up was up 36 percent and the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV soared 63 percent. The Cruze, which replaced the Cobalt, again surpassed the 18,000-unit mark. Chevrolet sold 723 Volts. At Buick, Regal sales soared 87 percent. At GMC, Sierra pickup sales were up 26 percent while Yukon SUV and Terrain crossover sales each climbed 45 percent. Cadillac CTS sales got a 24-percent boost and SRX sales rose 22 percent.

September Chrysler sales overall were the best since 2007, with some brands and models posting their best sales for the month since the year before the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse that triggered the recession and Chrysler’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Last month marked the best September for the Jeep and Chrysler brands. Jeep Compass (above) soared 306 percent; the Jeep Wrangler set a new September record. Chrysler 200 sales were up 87 percent over the Sebring it replaced; the new Chrysler 300 sedan posted 50-percent hike from the old model. Chrysler minivans posted double-digit percentage sales increases. Ram sales were up 45 percent, the pickup’s best sales month this year and best September since 2007. A 50-percent hike in Chrysler’s retail sales is a positive sign as it accomplished those higher sales to individual customers with incentives lowered from August. In the early post-bankruptcy going, Chrysler relied heavily on fleet sales to boost overall sales.

Nissan sales were up 25.3 percent. The strength came from Nissan Division, especially on car sales. But Infiniti sales, which had been hurt by a lack of supply of vehicles as the result of the March earthquake, edged higher. Volkswagen September sales were up 35.6 percent. Volkswagen of American CEO Jonathan Browning noted that as of end of September, the German automaker had surpassed full-year 2010 sales. A couple of weeks worth of the revamped Beetle and new Tennessee-built Passat were included in VW’s September sales. GM, Chrysler and VW executives predicted Monday that the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of vehicles in September would be about 13.2 million total vehicles (13 million light vehicles) when September car sales figures are tallied at day’s end.

That would match the monthly sales pace of April, just before supply disruptions stemming from the March 11 earthquake in Japan had a full impact on sales. Edmunds.com forecasts car and truck sales at a 12.9 million vehicles, according to Edmunds.com’s forecast. In raw numbers, that translates to September car sales figures of 1,038,052 vehicles, up 8.3 percent from September 2010 but down 3.1 percent from August. Edmunds.com estimates that the retail SAAR will come in at 10.6 million vehicles in September, with fleet sales accounting for 18 percent of all sales this month.

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