Record Incentives Boost September Auto Sales | Edmunds

Record Incentives Boost September Auto Sales

September turned out to be an exceptional month for new-car sales, boosted by record-setting manufacturer incentives.

Average incentive spending last month soared to $3,506 per vehicle, an all-time record that was prompted by growing inventories, according to Edmunds analysts. Vehicles have been sitting on dealership lots for an average of 80 days, the longest period since the height of the recession that began in 2008. Edmunds analysts expect a strong finish to 2017 auto sales as manufacturers keep incentives high to combat the bloated inventory levels.

Another factor in the solid September performance was increased demand for new vehicles in hurricane-ravaged areas of the southern U.S. For example, Edmunds analysis shows that new-vehicle sales in Houston rose 109 percent in the three weeks following Hurricane Harvey compared to the three weeks that preceded the storm.

Altogether, automakers sold 1,519,081 new vehicles in the U.S. last month, 6.3 percent more than in August and a 6.1 percent jump from September 2016. The robust seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 18.5 million vehicles, the highest since 2005, is up from 17.7 million units a year ago.

Toyota led the way among major manufacturers with a sales increase of 15 percent (226,632 units sold in September) compared to the same period last year. Other winners included GM (up 12 percent year over year), Ford and Nissan (up 9 percent each) and Honda (up 7 percent). Fiat Chrysler had the largest drop in year-over-year sales (down 10 percent), followed by Hyundai Kia (5 percent off).

The best-selling car in September was the popular 2017 Honda Civic compact, which boasted sales of 35,452 units. And the top-selling truck was the perennial favorite 2017 Ford F-150, with sales of 76,025 units.

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