US: September sales roar ahead at full speed

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American and Asian automakers and even crisis-laden VW and Audi have seen spectacularly rising auto sales last month, with demand expanding at a rapid pace that seems almost never-ending. Ford, GM, FCA, Toyota, Nissan and Audi reported major delivery jumps in September and rather surprising even VW of America – which has ordered all diesel cars to be parked on the lots – managed to post a slight gain – no more than one percent- thanks to subsidies and incentives. Overall, carmakers last month delivered around 1.44 million new cars and trucks, jumping almost 16 percent from the same period last year, also assisted by a calendar quirk that moved the Labor Day holiday from August. The already strong industry took full advantage of the holiday that usually represents a big boom for dealers, further driving sales of SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks. “September’s strong sales marked the culmination of several key factors last month,” comments Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “Ongoing pent-up demand and easy credit combined with aggressive, year-end incentive activity and a holiday weekend.” Thanks to the holiday, cheap credit, affordable deals and still relatively low gasoline prices took the seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate to the fastest value in at least a decade. Naturally, everyone rushed to modify accordingly their full year predictions, with True Car, the car buying service, up 200,000 units to 17.4 million; industry researcher LMC Automotive was more “reserved” and upped their forecast by 100,000 autos to 17.2 million vehicles. Estimates also pointed to soaring average transaction prices for the new light vehicles – $32,263, soaring slightly by 0.5 percent but still posting a record for the period.