In sharp contrast to August's dismal year-on-year results September has been a banner month for U.S. auto sales with Chrysler Group surging 61%, Subaru leaping 47%, and Ford jumping 40%, leading double-digit gains for other automakers. GM posted more modest gains of 11% due to downward pressure from discontinued brands.
Chrysler sold 100,077 cars and trucks for the month, up from 62,197 a year earlier. September was sixth straight month of increases and the second month this year in which Chrysler has topped 100,000 vehicles sold.
Ford sold 160,873 U.S. vehicles last month, up from 109,939 a year ago -- marking the 23rd time in the last 24 months that the company has expanded its share of the retail market. Ford's increase marked the automaker's highest monthly percentage increase since February's 43 percent gain.
"Ford bucked a trend this month; typically sales fall about 20% from August to September but Ford sales climbed 4.8% since last month," Edmunds.com analyst Ivan Drury said. "Ford has a solid lead on Toyota and should regain the number two spot for annual sales, which it hasn't held since 2007."
GM's sales rose across all brands 11%, however the core Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands increased 22% to 172,969 units. Brands that are now discontinued -- Hummer, Saturn, Saab and Pontiac -- weighed down results, down 99% to a mere 186 vehicles sold. GMC had a 41.6% surge to 25,995 vehicles, while the luxury Cadillac brand posted an increase of 11.3% to 12,620.
Ford was the only U.S. automaker to raise incentive spending, TrueCar said. Ford's average discounts rose 7.4% from last year to $2,797 per vehicle, while Chrysler decreased incentive spending by 23% to $3,787 and GM cut incentives by 11% to $3,403.
Honda's sales growth may have outpaced other Japanese automakers. The automaker's deliveries may have risen 32%, according to four analysts' estimates.
Nissanas sales may have climbed 30% and Toyota Motor Corp.'s may have increased 21%, according to four estimates.
Honda's incentive spending rose 68% to an average of $2,166, according to TrueCar. Toyota boosted discounts by 38% to $1,870, and Nissan increased 10% to $2,980.
September had 25 selling days, the same as a year earlier.