Auto Sales: Chrysler and GM Up, Ford Even

The Big Three new car sales scorecard for September was reported last week and two carmakers prospered, somewhat, while one broke even for the month.

Chrysler led all automakers with a 12 percent increase in September (compared with the same month a year ago), while GM was up just 1.5 percent and Ford was off at a 0.1 percent drop.

“Passenger cars have been the launch point for a broad and deep GM product offensive,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. Sales Operations. “Auto sales will continue to be a bright spot for the U.S. economy, which is particularly good news for GM as we walk into an even stronger cadence of new products in 2013 and 2014.” 70 percent of GM nameplates will be all new or re- designed in 2012 and 2013.

Meanwhile, Chrysler reported its best September sales month since 2007. Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck and Fiat brands each posted year-over-year sales gains during the month. “Last month marked our 30th consecutive month of year-over- year sales increases and our strongest September in five years,” said Reid Bigland, president and CEO – Dodge Brand and head of U.S. Sales.

As the production ramp-up of the all-new Dodge Dart compact sedan continues in Belvidere, Ill., assembly plant, Dart sales of 5,235 units were up a significant 72 percent in September, compared with August of this year.

Ford pointed to lower truck sales as the culprit behind that 0.1 percent drop. Company-wide, September car sales actually climbed 1.6 percent as truck sales fell 7.6 percent, due in part to the discontinuation of the Ranger light truck. Utility vehicle sales were up 8.7 percent for the month.

Then there was a key point brought up by Alec Gutierrez, senior auto analyst at Kelley Blue Book (KBB), which tracks sales trends nationally. Gutierrez suggested that the aging fleet of cars in the U.S. market today will actually work in the OEMs’ favor in the long run.

“The average vehicle on the road today is approximately 11 years old. Those consumers that have delayed their purchase of a new vehicle during the past several years due to economic reasons are finally making the decision to trade up to something new,” said Gutierrez.

“As a vehicle ages beyond 10 years old, or has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer, rising maintenance costs and deteriorating reliability can become a serious headache. Drivers of older vehicles are keenly aware of this fact and many are opting to take advantage of the near zero percent finance offers on today’s more reliable and fuel-efficient vehicles to achieve peace of mind.”

Content provided courtesy of Detroit Auto Scene. For more auto industry news visit

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