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September Auto Sales Surge Past Estimates, Buoyed By Lenders Page 2

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General Motors: GM (NYSE: GM) has reported sales of 210,245 vehicles in September 2012; that's up 1.5 percent compared to September of 2011, and the strongest September since 2008. Passenger cars were at the leading edge of the surge, with minicar, small, and compact cars together posting a 97-percent gain. Truck sales were down 20 percent versus the same month last year, mainly due to a reduction in fleet deliveries. Cadillac was the only division to see sales down slightly (1.3 percent) versus September 2011, while Buick was up 7.9 percent. All of GM stands up 3.2 percent year-to-date.

Ford: Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) posted total sales that were unchanged versus September of last year, although retail sales were up four percent. Small-car sales surged for Ford--to a decade high--thanks to strong combined sales of the Focus C-Max, and Fiesta (24,628, altogether). Focus sales alone were up 91 percent compared to last September, and the new Escape posted the nameplate's best September ever, at 23,148 units. Total utility-vehicle sales were up nine percent, while total truck sales were down eight percent--although the F-Series had its best September in five years.

Toyota / Lexus / Scion: Total Toyota Motor Sales results (including Toyota, Lexus, and Scion) were up 41.5 percent in September, compared to September 2011. The Toyota Division powered through with a 42.3-percent gain from last September, to 151,524 units--led by Camry and Camry Hybrid (34,252 combined). Lexus finished the month 35.7 percent higher than September 2011, at 12,020 units, while Scion actually posted the highest-percentage gains, up 75.7 percent versus last September, to 75.7 percent. Lexus and Toyota hybrid models, including the Toyota Prius family, finished at 26,747 combined--up nearly 121 percent.

Chrysler: Chrysler posted its best September in five years, with sales up 12 percent versus the same month last year; the automaker also finished its third quarter with sales up 13 percent versus year-ago levels. This was Chrysler's 30th consecutive month of sales gains, with Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Fiat all up. The Jeep brand had its best September since 2006, with sales up ten percent, while Dodge and Chrysler were both at their highest September levels since 2007 (up 18 percent and five percent, respectively). Sales of the Dodge Journey were up 41 percent, while Dodge Grand Caravan ended the month 32 percent higher than last year and the Jeep Grand Cherokee was up 19 percent. And it was a record month for the Chrysler 200.

Honda / Acura: Thanks in part to the all-new 2013 Accord, which was already hitting dealerships in the later half of the month, American Honda (Honda and Acura combined) posted an increase of 30.9 percent versus September of last year, to 117,211 units. Even considering that the '13 Accord reached dealerships about halfway through the month, it led in sales, up 56.6 percent to 29,182. Civic was up 57 percent and CR-V up nearly 14 percent versus last September. On the Acura side, sales were up to 14,366--43.5 percent higher than September 2011.

Nissan / Infiniti: Nissan North America sales were down 1.1 percent in September, versus year-ago levels, 91.907 units. Breaking it down by brand, Nissan sales fell 2.4 percent, while Infiniti was up 11.4 percent. While deliveries of the Altima were picking up pace and the Sentra sales fell, with a new 2013 model on the way, the Rogue crossover has a new September record, at 12,106, and the Pathfinder was up 38.7 percent from a year ago. And sales of the Nissan Leaf were at their highest level of any month for the past year, at 984 units. Infiniti September sales were at their best since 2007, and have now had five months of double-digit increases.

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