GM, Ford Continue to Tread Water
With September auto sales now in the books, and the numbers starting to trickle in, it looks to be a familiar story with the domestic players: Chrysler set the pace with a 12 percent increase that should be just above the industry average, but GM and Ford, despite some impressive bright spots, endured sales that were essentially flat for the month. Thus, while the General’s small-car lineup enjoyed a 97 percent jump in volume, the automaker overall was ahead of last year’s results by a modest 1.5 percent. The situation was similar at Ford, where small cars boosted sales by 73 percent over September 2011—and the Ford Escape set another sales record—but the company’s total sales volume fell by a couple hundred units.
Other highlights from the September auto sales of the big three include …
September auto sales for the Chrysler Group totaled 142,041 units, up 12 percent, with a half-dozen vehicles setting new volume benchmarks for the month:
In addition, the automaker’s first next-gen compact, the new Dodge Dart, reaped 5,428 sales in its first September on the market. That’s a 72 percent month-over-month gain for the Dart, which is still in the process of ramping up to full inventory levels.
“Last month marked our 30th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases and our strongest September in five years,” said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. Sales for the Chrysler Group, as well as president and CEO of the Dodge brand. “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.”
GM’s September sales total of 210,245 was the most for the month in four years, and also was good for a 1.5 percent increase over September of the previous year. Obviously, that’s not a particularly strong mark, but the automaker can take at least some solace from the performance of its newer vehicles, such as:
The award-winning Cadillac ATS also got out of the gate quickly, earning 611 sales after arriving in dealerships late in the month. As another random factoid, the GMC Acadia, for the second month in a row, outsold its Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave brethren; the Professional Grade three-row crossover benefited from 6,159 sales and a 16.5 percent improvement.
Much as was the case for GM, Ford reaped strong sales from its smaller and newer products, but was dragged down by enough laggards that the Blue Oval’s bottom line for the month was pretty much the same as for last year: 174,976 deliveries and a .1 percent slip in the standings.
Be that as it may, the Ford Escape is certainly doing its job. The all-new crossover has been on sale for two months now, and has set sales records in both of them. September’s total: 23,148 units and a 14.5 percent improvement.
More Ford sales highlights from last month: