U.S. light-vehicle sales increased 15.7% year over year to 1.44 million units in Sep 2015. Sales on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate ("SAAR") basis surged to 18.17 million units in Sep 2015 from 16.53 million units in Sep 2014 and 17.81 million units in Aug 2015. This is the highest SAAR since Jul 2005.
The sales volume was driven by low gas prices, high demand for light trucks, attractive deals as well as the easy availability of credit with lower interest rates. Further, the inclusion of the Labor Day weekend in September this year, compared to August last year, resulted in a significant year-over-year increase in September sales figures.
All the six major American and Japanese automakers recorded double-digit sales growth. Ford Motor Co.F recorded the maximum year-over-year improvement in Sep 2015. Meanwhile, General Motors CompanyGM led in absolute figures for the month.
Now, let us take a look at the U.S. sales figures reported by individual automakers.
General Motors recorded 251,310 vehicle sales in September, marking a 12.5% year-over-year increase. Further, retail sales improved 17.3% to 203,895 units. Meanwhile, commercial deliveries rose 10%, but fleet sales were down 5%.
Ford reported a 23% increase in U.S. sales from the year-ago period to 221,599 vehicles in Sep 2015. Retail sales went up 23% to 168,522 units, the company's best September sales in 11 years. Sales volume of the Lincoln brand vehicles improved 19.6% year over year to 8,680 units in the month. Sales of the Ford brand grew 23.1% year over year to 212,919 vehicles.
FCA US LLC (formerly Chrysler Group) - controlled by Fiat Chrysler AutomobilesFCAU - recorded a 14% year-over-year rise in sales to 193,019 vehicles in Sep 2015. With this, the company's monthly sales have increased year over year for 66 consecutive months. This impressive feat also marks the best September sales for the group since 2000.
Toyota Motor Corporation 's TM sales went up 16.2% year over year to 194,399 units in Sep 2015. Adjusting for one more selling day in Sep 2015 compared with Sep 2014, sales improved 11.6% on a daily selling rate ("DSR") basis. Sales in the Toyota division rose 16.3% on volume basis and 11.6% on DSR basis, to 169,105 units. Lexus' sales increased 15.8% on volume basis and 11.1% on DSR basis, to 25,294 units.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd.HMC recorded a 13.1% year-over-year increase in sales on volume basis to 133,750 vehicles in the month. On DSR basis, results were up 8.6% from the year-ago period. Sales of cars amounted to 70,115 units in September, while sales of trucks were 63,635 units.
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.NSANY reported an 18.3% year-over-year increase in sales to 121,782 vehicles in September. Sales in the Nissan division also surged 17.3% to 111,562 units. Further, sales of the Infiniti Division spiked 30.4% to 10,220 units.
Low fuel prices and interest rates, rising wages and household wealth, improving job security and employment rate, along with the easy availability of car loans with lower interest rates and longer repayment periods, are helping boost car sales in the U.S. Further, the ongoing recovery in the economy is leading to increased consumer confidence.
Automakers are also offering large incentives and discounts to enhance market share. Moreover, the high average age of cars on the U.S. roads is resulting in high replacement demand for cars as well as car parts.
All these factors are working in favor of auto sales in the U.S. As the automobile industry is a major contributor to U.S. economic growth, improving auto sales should aid the recovery of the overall U.S. economy.
The outlook for long-term auto sales remains positive, based on improving macroeconomic factors, residual pent-up demand, attractive deals and vehicle launches. U.S. light-vehicle sales look set to drive past the 17 million mark in 2015.
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