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US auto sales still trending upward

Keywords: Tags  auto sales, General Motors, Kurt McNeil, Chrysler, Reid Bigland, Ford, Ken Czubay, Nissan Honda

CHICAGO — U.S. automakers continued to post strong sales last month, with most producers notching improved sales compared with a year earlier, although the surge at some companies showed signs of leveling off.

September sales by the top seven automakers totaled nearly 1.02 million vehicles, up 12.8 percent from 901,287 in the same month last year.

General Motors Co. saw its best September sales results since 2008, even though truck sales slid 46 percent as the Detroit-based automaker reduced fleet sales. "Auto sales will continue to be a bright spot for the U.S. economy, which is particularly good news for GM," Kurt McNeil, vice president of the company’s U.S. sales operations, said in a statement.

Chrysler Group LLC, Auburn Hills, Mich., posted its best September sales figures since 2007 and its 30th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. "Going forward with our current product lineup, record-low interest rates and a stable U.S. economy, we remain optimistic about the health of the U.S. new vehicle sales industry and our position in it," said Reid Bigland, president and chief executive officer of the Dodge brand and head of the company’s U.S. sales operations.

Ford Motor Co. said it sold 24,628 small cars last month, its best showing in the sector since 2002 and a 73-percent gain compared with September 2011. "Fuel economy remains one of the most important features customers want today, and Ford is answering the call," said Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and services.

Still, the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker saw overall vehicle sales slip 0.1 percent from a year ago.

Nissan North America Inc., Franklin, Tenn., also saw sales slide 1.1 percent in September compared with the same month last year, but other Japanese "new domestic" automakers posted the strongest percentage gains—rebounding from supply chain disruptions caused by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan (, Aug. 2). Toyota Motor Sales Inc., Torrance, Calif., recorded a year-over-year monthly sales surge of 41.5 percent, while American Honda Motor Co. Inc., Torrance, saw sales skyrocket 30.9 percent.

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