With sales totaling nearly 1.2 million light vehicles for the month, September saw a 13% gain, giving the auto industry its highest selling month since March 2008. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate rose to 14.9 million, a higher amount than the 14.6 million SAAR seen during August 2009’s cash-for-clunkers.
At 1,188,899, the total number of auto sales last month was almost 100,000 more than analysts had predicted.
Of the major players, Toyota Motor Sales surpassed increases by Volkswagen Group and American Honda to see a 42% gain. Toyota's 144,781 sales brought the manufacturer closer to No. 2 brand Chevrolet, which sold only 5,020 more vehicles in September. This upswing also brought Toyota closer to Ford; sales of Toyota, Lexus, and Scion totaled 171,910 units, just 2,544 units behind Ford and Lincoln combined.
Light trucks sales trickled last month, rising 4% to 582,102 sales from 561,423 last year, while car sales shot up 23% to 606,797 units from 492,347 in the same period.
The Top 10 U.S. brands also saw a shakeup in September, with Honda bypassing Nissan to take the No. 4 slot behind Ford, Chevy, and Toyota. Kia overtook Dodge for No. 7, while VW rose to No. 10, taking GMC out of the picture for the month and year to date.