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September Auto Sales Surged, But There's A Clunkers Reality Check

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Sales were up 29 percent this past month, versus last September. But before you crack open the champagne and celebrate the end of the auto-industry recession, remember that last September a number of showrooms were very, very quiet.

It's a little hard to interpret, as the Cash for Clunkers program last August created a frenzy, with auto shoppers snapping up every small car on the lot at some dealerships. Some analysts speculated that a significant chunk of those who bought during the program were merely moving the purchase up a few months.

Looking at General Motors, Chrysler Group, and especially Ford Motor Co. [NYSE:F], there was some reason to be optimistic about the market. Each of those Detroit automakers reported sales up this September versus last September. GM's sales were up by 12 percent—even though it has four fewer brands—and Ford's were up 46 percent versus last September. Chrysler's sales were up by 61 percent, to just over 100,000 vehicles, but that automaker had nearly ground to a halt last year at this time.

September sales were down overall, as well as for most brands, versus August, but that's a seasonal pattern that's expected. Chrysler and Ford, however, saw sales up nearly five percent versus the previous month. At Ford, it was thanks to booming F-150 sales, along with strong sales for the Fusion and Escape, as well as the new 2011 Fiesta.

Overall, according to the Wall Street Journal, four of the top six automakers reported higher sales versus last year.

While most other brands also reported a drop in sales from August to September, Subaru, Volkswagen, Nissan, and Kia saw sales up versus last September.

Toyota also showed signs of recovery, with its sales up 17 percent in September, versus August, thanks to the stronger truck sales.

[MSNBC; WSJ; LA Times; AP]

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Comments (2)
  1. All these optimistic sales are part of simply kidding yourself. fleets has to upgrade, cars and trucks crashed or were trashed, very low interest rates boosted sales beased on credit, pending the next round of job-losses. However, as long as the deamnd for oil eternalizes the huge annual wealth transfer of 500 billion away from the US economy the dollar will depreciate, and purchasing power decline, leading to the next round of recession and job losses. Only an oil-less transprtation alternative can change this path to decline, and the US is steadfastly refusing to acknowledge this self- evident truth. Guys, if you want to save America you better look to alternatives to ICE, not for the few, but for the majority. And the alternative is right there in Palo Alto, if you care to raise you eyes from the tail-pipe
     
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  2. Right!!! Tesla will save us all.
     
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