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US auto sales decline in September

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US auto sales dipped in September after a summer of slow growth, according to figures released Monday.

[CHICAGO] US auto sales dipped in September after a summer of slow growth, according to figures released Monday.

As the summer driving season drew to an end, the pace of sales slowed 0.5 per cent over September 2015, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.8 million units, according to figures from Autodata.

Among major auto makers, Ford fared the worst. Overall sales at the second largest US producer were down 8 per cent year-on-year at 204,447 vehicles for the month.

General Motors boasted of growing market share and strong retail sales but also recorded a 0.6 decline, with 249,795 units sold, putting total sales for the year to date down 3.8 per cent from 2015.

GM said monthly retail sales for flagship brands were up, with Chevrolet posting a 0.9 per cent gain in deliveries to individual customers while retail sales for Buick and Cadillac also rose 6.7 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.

Toyota in September saw a 1.5 per cent year-on-year gain, selling 197,260 units. Its luxury brand Lexus saw a 2 per cent rise in sales, with 25,801 units sold.

"Toyota outpaced the industry to be the No.1 retail brand in September, led by Camry, RAV4, and Corolla, and the fourth quarter outlook is strong thanks to our best light truck supply of the year," Bill Fray, group vice-president at Toyota, said in a statement.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a 3 per cent year-on-year rise for the month to 196,756 vehicles sold, bringing year-to-date sales up 4 per cent over the same period in 2015.

Volkswagen, still embroiled in a scandal over emissions-cheating devices, saw sales fall 7.8 per cent; the company's US market share declined by 0.1 percentage points to 1.7 per cent.

Electric automaker Tesla, which reports sales figures on a quarterly basis, said it had delivered about 24,500 vehicles in its third quarter, up 70 per cent over the previous quarter, while production rose 37 per cent to 25,185 cars.

The delivery count "should be viewed as slightly conservative, as we only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct," the company said in a statement.

Vehicle sales are seen as a key indicator of the strength of household and consumer spending in the US economy.


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