sales by the top seven automakers totaled 965,351 vehicles in
September, down 5 percent from nearly 1.02 million in the same
month last year but the year-to-date total of 10.13 million
vehicles remained 7.9 percent ahead of the first nine months of
last year, according to an AMM analysis.
It is hard to predict
what impactif anythe federal government shutdown
may have on sales in October, the automakers said.
The top seven
automakers sold an average of 41,972 vehicles per day in
September, up 3.2 percent from 40,657 a year earlier, when
there were two more selling days.
Bucking the downward
trend in September, Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co.
recorded sales of 185,146 vehicles, up 5.8 percent from the
same month last year, and Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler
Group LLC sales increased 0.7 percent to 143,017 vehicles.
Motors Co. and Seoul-based Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors
Corp. saw double-digit sales declines last month.
"We expect that
car-buying fundamentals will remain strong," Kurt McNeil,
GMs U.S. vice president of sales, said during the
automakers Oct. 1 sales conference call. "For example, a
recent drop in jobless claims signals that we should see
further acceleration in payrolls. Add to that an accommodative
monetary policy, a recovering housing market, low energy prices
and rising household wealth, and its clear that we should
be in good shape going forward."
He said the auto
industry should not be affected by the government shutdown as
long as it is short.
Recalling the impact
of the debt ceiling debate in August 2011, GM senior economist
Sue Yingzi Su said that partisan fighting caused a drop in
consumer confidence but auto sales held up pretty well. "And
now the fundamentals of the economy (are) much stronger than in
2011 and consumers (expectations) have also improved
dramatically from the trough in 2011," she said. "We think
its fair to say we should be able to weather the
turbulence at this time."
Jenny Lin, senior U.S.
economist for Ford, said the disruption in government
operations adversely affects direct government spending,
business and consumer confidence and financial markets. "So we
urge our government leaders to continue to work together and we
remain hopeful that this shutdown wont be very long."