Automakers bounce back, reporting strong sales in September

Hurricanes cost US $260 billion

General Motors Co. sold 279,397 new cars and trucks in September, tops among USA automakers as the industry bounced back from major hurricanes that tamped down sales in two large markets.

GM posted a 12% year-over-year increase in total sales in September, including a 17% increase at Chevrolet and an 9% increase at GMC.

In addition, regions devastated by the recent hurricanes will continue to recover, helping spur new and used vehicle sales.

The "overall strength of the US economy is the main force driving the market", said GM chief economist Mustafa Mohatarem, with recovery in hurricane-damaged areas "spurring new and used vehicle sales". "With the US economy strengthening, retail sales should remain strong for the foreseeable future". Sales of the revamped 2018 midsize Camry sedan were up 13 per cent in its first full month of sales.

GM reported on Tuesday that sales rose 11.9 per cent, while Ford sales rose 8.7 per cent. Toyota posted a 14.9 per cent increase, while Nissan sales were up 9.5 per cent. Volkswagen said its sales rose 33.2 per cent over numbers that were depressed a year ago by its diesel emissions cheating scandal. Toyota Division posted sales of 200,436 units, up 16.9% on a volume basis while its luxury brand, Lexus, saw sales jump 1.5% on a volume basis in June to 26,196 units.

Hyundai Canada's total sales, including the Kia brand, were 19,830 in September, up 8.9 percent over past year with Kia doing most of the heavy lifting. ALG says the average new-vehicle incentives rose 1.5 percent to $3,742 last month over September 2016, with GM, Nissan and FCA US the biggest spenders among mass-market automakers.

With consumer demand slipping amid income growth, steady jobs gains, low interest rates and rising US equity markets, dealers and automakers have been forced to dangle bigger deals to spur showroom traffic.

Christopher Hopson, manager of light-vehicle forecasting for IHS Markit, said September had a flawless mix of hurricane replacement demand, high incentives, rising fleet sales and strong sales of outgoing 2017 models. We're pleased to say recovery in Houston and Florida is moving quickly, with all of our dealers in the area now back up. But it lost about 1,000 vehicle sales in Florida due to closed dealerships, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Mark LaNeve said on a conference call.

Man armed with knife stabs two people to death in France
The station was evacuated amid a "major incident" after gunshots were heard and there is now a large police presence at the scene. Police declined to speculate about the motives of the killer, who attacked passers-by with a knife, according to local reports.

Ford retail sales totaled 169,544 vehicles, up 4.4 percent compared to a year ago, while fleet sales totaled 52,704 vehicles, representing a 25.1 percent increase versus 2016. Nissan Rogue set a September sales record with 38,969 units, up 47%, Nissan reported. The auto website Edmunds.com expects overall sales to rise 0.4 per cent from previous year, but early indications pointed to a stronger increase. Total auto sales fell 6.5% at 3,242 vehicles delivered, while total truck sales increased 3.6% with 27,657 vehicles delivered.

In line with FCA's strategy to reduce sales to the daily rental segment, the company's fleet sales of 27,362 units shrank 41% year over year. The company is cutting back on fleet sales.

Ford Motor Co's sales rose 8.7 per cent in September, with those to consumers up 4.4 per cent and lower-margin fleet sales up 25.1 per cent. F-Series pickup truck sales soared 21.4 per cent, benefiting from the popularity of pickups in Texas.

AZZ Inc (AZZ) slumped 2.1% or $1.05 to $49.15 after the electrical equipment and engineered services provider said revenues in the second-quarter ending in August fell 2.4% from a year ago to $190.4 million. Volkswagen's sales jump is also tied to a shift to offer more family-friendly SUVs, such as the new Atlas and updated Tiguan, in its line-up.

The Hyundai brand posted modest gains in September, up 2.6 percent to 11,961 vehicles.

Kelley Blue Book estimated the average transaction price or for light vehicles in the United States was $34,861 in September 2017.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles September sales were down 6 percent to 18,444 as its Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge brands all struggled.

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