Makers Basking in Glow of White Hot September Sales

Despite diesel scandal, VW ekes out small gain.

by on Oct.01, 2015

Ford F-150 sales are back on track posting a 16% gain in September, including a 28% jump in retail sales.

With American and Asian carmakers posting double-digit gains, demand for new vehicles continued to expand at a healthy pace during September.

Ford, General Motors, FCA U.S., Toyota, Nissan and Audi reported significant sales increases last month. Somewhat surprising, Volkswagen of America, which suspended sales of its diesel-powered cars after being caught cheating on emission tests, managed a small jump – less than 1% – through the use of incentives.

Sales news!

Ford’s U.S. sales increased 23% in September, providing the company with its best September performance in 11 years. Retail sales increases were broad-based with passenger car sales up 15%, SUVs up 23% and trucks up 29%.

“Our Ford and Lincoln dealers had an outstanding month, delivering strong sales, with gains in cars, SUVs and trucks in September,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Sales of EcoBoost-equipped vehicles also were strong, driving us to an annual record for EcoBoost sales with three months left in the year.”

Jeep's 40% sales increase in September paved the way for FCA's 66th consecutive month of increased sales.

F-Series sales of 69,651 trucks posted a 16% increase overall, with retail sales increasing 28%. This represents the best September sales for F-Series since 2006, with EcoBoost representing 64% of F-150 retail sales last month.

Ford’s results were impressive, but it was the Jeep brand leading the way. Using Jeep’s 40% increase, FCA posted the company’s best September sales since 2000. Overall, FCA sales increased 14%, according to Reid Bigland, FCA’s top sales executive.

“On the back of a strong sales industry we were able to achieve our best September sales in 15 years and our 66th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth,” said Bigland. “Last month’s sales strength was broad based with five FCA vehicles setting September sales records and two others posting their best monthly sales ever.”

GM reported total sales were up 12%, said Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. vice president of Sales Operations.

(Analysts continue revising 2015 sales expectations higher. For more, Click Here.)

“Staying focused on core values like initial quality, sales and service satisfaction, cost of ownership, dependability and advanced technology is paying off in higher sales and share, stronger transaction prices and lower incentives,” McNeil said.

GM’s average transaction prices increased almost $800 per unit compared to August 2015, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates and incentive spending dropped 1%.

GM also posted double-digit gains in September with broad-based improvements for its brands.

Audi achieved its best-ever September sales in the U.S. to mark its 57th consecutive monthly sales record as sales rose 12.5% from last year to 147,403 vehicles. Nissan also put up some impressive numbers, according to executives.

“Our Nissan Division delivered a record setting September, which finished up 17% for the month, ” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Nissan U.S. Sales & Marketing and Operations. “The Nissan brand capitalized on consumer demand across our well-rounded product portfolio, also leading to record September months for both Nissan cars and light truck sales,” he said.

(Click Here for details about what September auto sales were expected to be.)

Other makers posting increases last month, include: Infiniti (30.4%), Toyota (16%), Lexus (15.8%), Subaru (28%), Honda division (14%), Acura (6.3%), Mercedes (6%), BMW (4%) and Mini (4.6%)

The outlook for car sales also remains promising as consumers continued to show a willingness to spend on new vehicles. True Car, the car buying service, raised its 2015 annual forecast by 200,000 units to 17.4 million as sales growth in the remaining months of 2015 is poised to remain vigorous.

“Fundamental indicators point to an outstanding market, with auto sales poised to hit a 15-year high,” said TrueCar Executive Vice President Larry Dominique, who also leads TrueCar’s ALG unit. “A flourishing industry positions annual automaker revenue to hit $565 billion for the first time.”

Luxury sales continued to grow in September. Mercedes enjoyed its best September ever with a 6% jump.

TrueCar estimates the average transaction price for a new light vehicle in September will be $32,263, up 0.5% over last year, setting a monthly record. Meanwhile, average incentive spending per unit grew $117 to $3,090. The ratio of incentive spending to ATP was 9.6%, up 3.4% over a year ago.

(To see more about how the diesel scandal will impact Volkswagen, Click Here.)

“Although the industry remains solid, automakers are electing to increase incentives,” said Stacey Doyle, TrueCar’s senior industry analyst. “The incentive-to-average transaction price ratio has been at somewhat higher than normative levels for three consecutive months. Typically, automakers ease up on incentives in October and November.”

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