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September 2013 car sales: Government shutdown, meet sales shutdown

Nearly all major automakers saw a fall in sales this September. Padgett examines these sales reports to see if the industry will shake off this early fall or head down a slower path to recovery. 

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General Motors: GM [NYSE:GM] sold 187,195 vehicles in September, and that was not good news. The numbers were down 11 percent from the same period in 2012, and left GM just a few thousand sales higher than crosstown rival Ford. Buick sales at 15,623 units were up 6.5 percent, and Cadillac posted a 9.9-percent gain with 13,828 units sold--but Chevy (127,785 units) was off 14.7 percent and GMC (29,959 units) fell 9.7 percent.

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Ford: Ford Motor Co. [NYSE:F] sold 185,146 vehicles in September, for the strongest gain of any domestic automaker, up 6 percent. The Fusion posted a 62-percent sales gain at 19,972 units, and the F-Series trucks blew away expectations at 60,456 units (up 10 percent). Focus sales were off 15.2 percent, and Lincoln dropped 5.1 percent to 6,543 units--though the MKZ sedan was up 12 percent.

Toyota / Lexus / Scion: The Toyota Motor Company [NYSE:TM] group--including Toyota, Lexus, and Scion brands--sold 164,457 units in September, according to preliminary figures released by the company. The numbers rose just 4 percent on an adjusted basis; on an unadjusted basis, sales were off 4.3 percent. Lexus' September sales of 19,522 units represented a 4.1-percent increase on an adjusted basis, and a 4.2-percent decrease on an unadjusted basis.

Chrysler: Chrysler Group LLC posted total sales of 143,017 units in September, up a weak 1 percent over the same month in 2012. While the Jeep Compass and Patriot set records, and the Dodge Durango rose 66 percent, it couldn't help Jeep (down 5 percent) or Dodge (up just 3 percent) much. Ram sales rose 8 percent, with Chrysler-brand vehicles up 2 percent. Fiat fell to its first year-over-year sales drop, off 24 percent despite the launch of the new 500L compacthatchback.

Honda / Acura: American Honda Motor Co. [NYSE:HMC] sales were down 9.9 percent to 105,563 units, on unadjusted basis, down 2.1 percent adjusted. The Honda brand accounted for 93,915 units, down 8.7 percent; Acura sold 11,648 vehicles, off 18.7 percent. Honda's mainstays held strong: the company sold 25,176 Accord coupes and sedans to keep it up on the year by 13.8 percent, though it was off by 6 percent for the month; the Civic tallied 22,983 sales, up 6.7 percent for the month.
Nissan / Infiniti: Nissan Motor Company [NASDAQ:NSANY] said its September sales of 86,868 are off 5.5 percent from the year prior, with the Nissan brand off 5.6 percent. At 1,953 units, sales of the electric Leaf hatchback were up 99 percent on the month. The Nissan Rogue -- to live on as the Rogue Select -- explained that unusual decision for itself by moving 11,353 units in September. The Nissan Pathfinder was up 72.8 percent on the month, to 5,537 units. Infiniti sales were off 4.3 percent to 9,040 units.

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