September 2014 Auto Sales: Bada Bing, Bada Boom

Light vehicle sales up 9.4 percent for the month.

Toyota 4Runner

4Runner sales helped pace Toyota in September 2014.

Analysts had expected that September 2014 auto sales would rise and they were not disappointed. GM, Chrysler and Nissan paced the industry, with each enjoying sales gains of 19 percent for the month. Ford sales dipped slightly, Toyota moved up just under 2 percent, while Honda sales rose by 12 percent.

September 2014 Auto Sales

The big news for the month came from the Chrysler Group. Not only did the company register its 54th consecutive month of month-over-month sales, but it surpassed Toyota in sales: 169,890 to 167,279 units sold. Likely, Chrysler won’t be able to sustain its hold on third place and is still 238,000 units behind Toyota for the year.

September 2014

Silverado sales topped 50,000 units in September 2014.

GM’s surge was led by GMC and Chevrolet, up 27.7 and 20.4 percent respectively. Buick sales rose by 11.8 percent while Cadillac sold one more vehicle in Sept. than they did last year for virtually no change. The biggest gainers were the Chevrolet Silverado on 50,176 units sold or up 54.4 percent for the month. The Chevrolet Cruze, up 44.7 percent and Traverse up 45.1 percent also paced the bow-tie brand. GMC, by the way, saw sales of its all-new Yukon nearly doubled. GMC Sierra sales also came in strong, up 24.7 percent for the month.

“GM saw strength almost across the board in September, and outpaced the industry with the newest trucks and SUVs at exactly the right time,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations. “We will have improved availability of heavy-duty pickups and large SUVs in the months ahead, and the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are arriving in showrooms as we speak. This sets us up to finish the year on a very strong note.”

Chrysler continues to ride the crest of mushrooming Jeep sales with Ram also contributing. Cherokee sales have now moved past the Grand Cherokee and are also ahead of Wrangler. The biggest gainer for the month was the Patriot as sales rose by 51 percent. Jeep’s September 2014 sales were up 47 percent.

Ram continues to benefit from interest in its large pickup truck, the 1500 series. That truck recorded 36,612 units sold for the month, up 30 percent month-over-month. Ram sales finished up by 35 percent for the month and are up 25 percent over 2014.

Nissan, Ford and Toyota

Nissan Versa Note

The Versa Note is Nissans entry-level hatchback.

Nissan group sales rose by nearly 19 percent, held down by a 13 percent decrease in Infiniti sales. Several models contributed to the onslaught with the biggest gainers coming in the Rogue (up 51 percent) and Sentra (up 61 percent). Frontier sales rose by 47 percent for the month.

Ford’s loss of 3.2 percent for the month can be attributed largely to the reduced availability of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck. As of this writing, Ford is transitioning from its 2014 to 2015 model year, bringing to the market an aluminum-bodied truck. Even so, Ford sold 59,863 pickup trucks to lead all comers. Ford reported strong sales for the Fusion, Transit Connect and the all-new Transit van. Lincoln sales rose 12.5 percent largely on demand for its all-new MKC crossover and a new Navigator SUV.

Toyota’s sales inched up by 1.7 percent even as demand for the Camry and Corolla slipped. Sales of the RAV4 and Highlander crossovers, as well as the 4Runner SUV, helped move Toyota forward. Lexus sales increased by 7.3 percent for the month.

Honda, Hyundai and Kia

Honda CR-V

CR-V sales rose as Honda introduces an all-new model.

Honda’s sales rose by 12 percent as both its Honda and Acura brands notched double-digit sales increases for September 2014. The outgoing Honda CR-V, now being replaced by an all-new model, contributed 23,722 sales for the month, ahead of the Civic’s 22,263 and behind the Accord’s 32,956 units sold. Increased demand for the MDX and RDX crossovers and demand for its ILX sedan fueled growth.

With all core Honda models now made in North America, the Honda brand is continuing to gain strength with American car buyers, said Jeff Conrad, Honda division senior vice president and general manager. And with the redesigned 2015 Honda CR-V going on sale today we expect our momentum to continue to grow as step-by-step we reinforce our light truck lineup.

Hyundai and Kia are gradually moving to a place where the two Korean automakers should sell 100,000 units monthly between them. Kia sales were up 6.9 percent for the month while Hyundai sales increased by 1.6 percent. Both automakers, joined at the hip, are feeling the effects of capacity constraints. Nevertheless, the two manufacturers are operating their US factories at full tilt and are relying on imports to satisfy customer demand.

Best of the Rest

The 2015 Mazda CX-5.

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover.

The rest of the market saw sales all over the place. The Volkswagen Group continues to struggle, falling 9 percent on the month. VW brand sales fell by 18.6 percent, but Audi sales rose by 14.2 percent. Mazda sales rose by 6.7 percent, Mitsubishi surged by 38.9 percent and Volvo sales rose by 11.4 percent.

Subaru continues to shake up the market, enjoying a 30.7 percent boost for the month. Subaru sales rose by nearly 10,000 units, representing the seventh time this year the automaker surpassed 40,000 vehicles sold in one month.

Jaguar sales fell by 13 percent, Land Rover was down 8.3 percent and Porsche sales increased by 16.6 percent. BMW sales rose by 8.6 percent, Mini sales plunged 20.5 percent, Mercedes-Benz recorded an 10 percent increase and Smart sales climbed by nearly 20 percent. Tesla sales fell by 15.4 percent.

September 2014 and Year to Date

In all, 1,246,006 new vehicles were sold in September 2014, up 9.4 percent for the month. Light trucks continue to outsell passenger vehicles 665,746 to 580,260. Through September 2014, sales are up 5.5 percent for the year to 12,431,305 vehicles sold. Annualized, sales are on pace to top 16.5 million units for the year.

See AlsoHighlights of August 2014 US Auto Sales

Sales data supplied by car manufacturers and Autodata Corp.

Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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