This week, all of the major manufacturers in the auto industry released their sales numbers for September. And across the board, the news is very good. Across the board were reports of increased vehicle sales, not just over last year's numbers but in many cases the best numbers these companies have seen since in the last decade. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Ford Motor Co., for example, reported that overall, it's small car sales were up 73 percent year-over-year to 24,628 units, the best numbers it has had since 2002. The company's F-Series trucks continued a 14-year consecutive growth streak, with an increase of one percent over last year to sell 55,077 units. "As more buyers look for new vehicles across the country, Ford is ready with our strongest lineup ever of fuel-efficient cars, utilities and full-size pickups," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "Fuel economy remains one of the most important features customers want most today, and Ford is answering the call with five vehicles that deliver 40 mpg or better – with another three on the way by year-end."
Toyota was another winner, with sales results of 171,910 units, an increase of 41.5 percent compared to the same period last year on both a daily selling rate (DSR) and a raw volume basis. The Toyota Division posted September total sales of 151,524 units, an increase of 42.3 percent on a DSR basis from September 2011. The Lexus Division reported total sales of 20,386 units in September 2012, up 36.0 percent from September 2011 on both a DSR and raw volume basis compared to the same period last year. "The auto industry had another very encouraging month in September," said Bill Fay, Toyota group vice president and general manager. "Our dealers got off to a great start over Labor Day weekend and that momentum carried through the rest of the month, as Camry continued to stretch its lead as the most popular car in America."
Hyundai Motor America wrapped up the quarter setting multiple sales records, including 60,025 sales for the month of September. Sales were up 15 percent for the month, and up 10 percent for the first nine months of the year versus 2011. The Azera and the Elantra families saw sales gains of 1028 percent and 27 percent, respectively, over last September. The Tucson saw sales gains of 23 percent over the same period a year ago, and Veloster, the three-door coupe, had a sales gain of 262 percent. Hyundai fleet sales and mix remained low at a nine percent mix for the month and year-to-date, among the lowest in the industry. "September was a very encouraging month for Hyundai as we avoided the traditional back-to-school sales decline and began to reap the benefits of a materially improved inventory situation on our core vehicle lines," said Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president of sales. "We're well positioned for a strong fourth quarter as sales of the newly launched Elantra GT, Elantra Coupe, the all-new Azera and all-new Santa Fe continued at a brisk pace. Our fourth quarter production plan is up nearly 20 percent on a year-over-year basis."
The BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported September sales of 26,660 vehicles, an increase of 3.5 percent from the 25,749 vehicles sold in the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, BMW Group is up 7.1 percent on sales of 234,928 in the first nine months of 2012 compared to 219,314 in the same period in 2011. "The economic indicators and consumer confidence are showing improvement and the traffic in our showrooms is further encouraging our optimism for the fourth quarter of the year as the BMW new model ramp-up continues," said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America, LLC. "The X1 in its first full month is largely sold out and MINI set another sales record; both are strong indicators of what's to come."
Mercedes-Benz USA reported record sales of 23,156 for its Mercedes-Benz models, up 7 percent, delivering a record year-to-date total of 191,618 new vehicles to customers, up 12.7 percent. Combined sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, smart and Sprinter for the month totaled 25,980, up 8.7 percent, bringing the year-to-date total to 214,331 up 16.7 percent. "We're on our way to a record year with extraordinary momentum and demand outpacing supply," stated Steve Cannon, president and CEO, MBUSA.
Kia Motors America (KMA) achieved a record third quarter and the 25th consecutive month of record sales, reaching 48,105 units, a 35.1 percent increase over the same period in 2011. The Optima midsize sedan sold 14,304 units and the Sorento CUV enjoyed sales of 10,066 vehicles. The Soul accounted for 9,467 units sold, bolstered by the recent launch of the "Bringing Down the House" advertising campaign featuring the music-loving Kia hamsters. "Kia's product-led transformation – together with our successful marketing – have elevated Kia's reputation beyond our bedrock commitment to value," said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of KMA and KMMG. "At Kia, we work to understand the needs and expectations of our customers and work to find new ways to enrich their lives, providing the Kia brand with powerful potential as more new products and technologies are set to arrive in the next 12 months."