September auto sales expected to be stellar

By Kalea Hall


The added Labor Day sales weekend in September should lead to another month of impressive sales for automakers, analysts say.

In fact, the only automaker expected to sell less in September 2015 than September 2014 is Volkswagen Group because the company recently admitted it used a piece of engine software to cheat on diesel-car emissions tests in the U.S. The company says 11 million vehicles worldwide were fitted with the software.

Automakers will post their sales for September on Thursday.

“We do expect Volkswagen to be down,” said Eric Lyman, vice president of industry insights for TrueCar. “We expect there to be a little hit to their showroom traffic.”

TrueCar analysts project Volkswagen’s U.S. sales in September will drop 5.2 percent year over year, but the rest of the automakers are expected to post increases in sales.

General Motors, for example, is expected to post sales of 243,600 for a 9 percent increase year over year. Ford is expected to see sales increase by more than 18 percent, and Fiat Chrysler is expected to post an increase of 9.7 percent, according to TrueCar’s September sales forecast.

Overall, TrueCar expects vehicles sales to increase by 12.6 percent to 1.4 million compared with 1.2 million last year. Retail sales, or sales to individual customers, are the main reason for the robust sales analysts project for September.

Adjusting for the one more selling day this September versus last September, TrueCar analysts say sales should rise 8.1 percent.

Crossover and utility vehicles are expected to dominate sales again.

Kelley Blue Book analysts show the compact sport utility vehicles posting a 30.7 percent increase in sales – surpassing the full-size pickups, midsize cars, compact cars – such as the Lordstown-built Chevrolet Cruze – and midsize SUVs.

But every segment is expected to have double-digit gains year over year, KBB analysts say.

“People are spending a little more to move up to a larger vehicle,” said Tim Fleming, KBB analyst.

KBB expects overall sales to increase 12 percent year over year to a total of 1.39 million units. KBB expects all automakers, including Volkswagen, will post increases.

Edmunds analysts forecast a 13.9 percent increase in sales in September with its projections of 1.4 million sales. Edmunds analysts project every automaker, except Volkswagen, will post increases year over year.

Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds, said while the Volkswagen’s current headlines will be a setback, one of the world’s largest auto companies will get through it.

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