Chrysler Group LLC reported a 12 percent increase in U.S. sales in September, bolstering Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne’s view that the country’s economic recovery remains “quite strong.”
Chrysler sales last month rose to 142,041 cars and light trucks from 127,336 a year earlier, the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company said today in a statement. The automaker beat the 6.3 percent gain that was the average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Deliveries of the Dodge Dart compact, introduced in June, climbed 72 percent from August to 5,235.
U.S. light-vehicle sales probably rose 9.5 percent in September to 1.15 million, the average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Marchionne, who also is CEO of Chrysler’s majority owner Fiat SpA, said last month that U.S. consumer confidence was robust amid election-year “bantering.”
“In the midst of all this political kerfuffle, the underlying economics of the U.S. are quite strong,” Marchionne told reporters Sept. 14 in Detroit. “The U.S. is well poised to take a big piece of the action in terms of economic recovery on a global scale.”
Chrysler forecast a seasonally adjusted industry sales rate of 14.9 million including medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which usually account for at least 200,000 deliveries on an annualized basis. That would exceed the 14.5 million light-vehicle sales pace that was the average estimate of 16 analysts. The September 2012 rate was 13.1 million.
The industry selling rate was 14.5 million in August, the best since August 2009, when the U.S. government offered incentives for buyers to exchange older vehicles for new models.
Marchionne’s views contrast with those of Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. sales chief, who said in August that auto demand would slow until consumers had “sense of stability in the future” after the November presidential election.
Toyota probably will lead the industry in boosting sales by 36 percent in September, the average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The Toyota City, Japan-based automaker offered buyers zero-percent financing in September on seven models including the Corolla compact car and RAV4 sport-utility vehicle.
Banks, bolstered by loose monetary policy, are charging U.S. consumers the lowest interest rates on new-car loans since the Federal Reserve began surveying them in 1971. In addition to Toyota, Chrysler, General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. also are offering zero-percent financing on some models, according to researcher Edmunds.com.
Honda, rebounding along with Toyota from last year’s supply shortages caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, probably boosted sales in September by 26 percent, the average of eight estimates.
GM may have increased deliveries by 2.8 percent, the average of 11 estimates. GM is offering no-interest loans on the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, Cadillac SRX, Buick Enclave and several other models, according to Edmunds.
Ford, which is offering no-interest loans on 2012 F-150 pickups as well as Mustang and Focus car models, may have boosted sales by 2.3 percent, the average of 11 estimates.
Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., both based in Seoul, may combine to sell 9.1 percent more vehicles in September than a year earlier, the average of six analysts’ estimates. Deliveries for the Hyundai brand rose 15 percent to 60,025, John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, said today in a Twitter posting.
Volkswagen AG, which is targeting more than 500,000 vehicle sales in the U.S. this year, may have increased combined deliveries of its Volkswagen and Audi brands by 30 percent in September, the average of four analysts’ estimates. The Wolfsburg, Germany-based company is offering no-interest loans on the Tiguan and Touareg SUVs, as well as the Passat, Jetta and Golf cars, Edmunds said.
Nissan’s deliveries may have slipped 2.1 percent, the average of eight estimates. Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan is offering free financing on its Altima sedan, as well as its Murano, Pathfinder and Armada SUVs, according to Edmunds.
Industrywide deliveries this year through August climbed 15 percent to 9.71 million, according to researcher Autodata Corp. in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. The industry is on pace to exceed 14 million sales this year, the highest total since 2007.