- As Edmunds predicted, September sales for Ford and Chrysler were the bright spots in a generally down month for the U.S. auto industry.
- Ford said sales rose 6 percent, fueled by September sales of the Ford Fusion, Fiesta and F-Series pickup trucks.
- Chrysler reported a modest increase of 1 percent compared with sales in September 2012.
DETROIT — As Edmunds predicted, September sales for Ford and Chrysler were the bright spots in a generally down month for the U.S. auto industry.
Edmunds analysts had anticipated a 5 percent sales increase for Ford in September and a sales uptick of 0.7 percent for Chrysler. There were two fewer shopping days in September, compared with the previous year, and part of the Labor Day shopping weekend fell in August, calendar anomalies that took some of the spark out of auto sales last month.
Ford said sales rose 6 percent, fueled by September sales of the Ford Fusion, Fiesta and F-Series pickup trucks. September Fusion sales of 19,972 are up 62 percent compared with a year ago, while September Fiesta sales of 5,043 are up 29 percent over last year. F-Series sales were 60,456, up 10 percent.
"We're particularly encouraged by the strength of the Fusion and Fiesta, especially in coastal markets," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a statement.
Chrysler reported a modest increase of 1 percent compared with sales in September 2012. Sales of the Ram pickup truck were up 8 percent, its 41st consecutive month of year-over-year-sales gains and its best September sales since 2007.
General Motors delivered 187,195 vehicles in the U.S. in September, down 11 percent compared year over year.
"We held our own when it comes to retail market share this month thanks to strong new products, including the Chevrolet Impala, Buick Encore, GMC Sierra and the Cadillac ATS and XTS," said Kurt McNeil, GM vice president of U.S. sales operations, in a statement. "We expect a strong finish to the year and more growth in 2014 thanks to new products and a healthier economy."
GM reported that sales of the Chevrolet Malibu were up 29 percent and retail sales of the Chevrolet Impala increased 64 percent.
Jessica Caldwell, an Edmunds senior analyst, said there are "silver linings" in GM's September sales report.
"Chevrolet dealers saw their first shipments of the highly anticipated Corvette Stingray and inventory is growing for the new 2014 trucks," Caldwell said.
Toyota and Volkswagen also reported declines in September.
Toyota said it sold 164,457 vehicles in September, a decrease of 4.3 percent from September 2012.
"September was a solid month for the auto industry despite two fewer selling days," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager, in a statement. "Industry fundamentals are strong as interest rates stay low and consumers remain confident."
Volkswagen reported 31,920 units delivered in September, down 2.6 percent year-to-date. But the German automaker noted that its TDI Clean Diesel models accounted for 24.4 percent of sales in September, marking the best month ever for TDI sales.
"VW has fallen short of the industry in terms of sales growth this year," Caldwell said. "The company is struggling with phased-out vehicles and finding volume in segments in which they are overshadowed by more recognizable nameplates."
The September car sales report competed with the government shutdown in Washington in the headline race, with some consumers undoubtedly worrying how the political upheaval will affect October car sales.
"American car buyers have been remarkably resilient in the face of the Congress' antics over the past year," said Edmunds Chief Economist Dr. Lacey Plache. "There's no reason to believe that auto sales will suffer in the coming days or weeks as this mess gets sorted out in Washington."
Edmunds says: A mixed September report card by the auto industry.