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Ford, Honda and Hyundai Expected to Top September Sales

In a month in which cars sales are expected to make a strong showing, the winners in terms of growth will be Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), which owns luxury brand Lincoln, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC), which owns luxury brand Acura, and Hyundai/Kia. Sales of each of these car companies are expected to rise over 14% compared to September of last year.

The industry as a total, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), is expected to post a jump of 11.9% to 1.39 million from September of last year.

Expect big increases across the industry in September, with the average gains from manufacturers in the double digits. Including Labor Day sales with September totals this year is one reason for the big jump, but the underlying demand for new vehicles remains strong. With the average age of vehicles on the road increasing, used-car prices on the rise and financing still inexpensive, it looks like new-car sales will continue to increase in the near future.

Ford’s sales should rise 14.2% to 205,000. Ford’s improvement is expected to be aided by its van sales. This will keep it barely ahead of Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), which is expected to post an increase of 13.6% to 190,000.

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Honda’s improvement is expected to be 14.2% to 135,000. This will keep it ahead of rival Nissan, owner of luxury brand Infiniti, which is expected to post an increase of 12.7% to 116,000.

Chrysler, part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) and owner of Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Fiat, has been America’s hottest car company. Its advance is expected to slow to 10.7% to 188,000.

Among the smaller car companies, Hyundai/Kia is expected to sell 114,000, up 18.0% from last year.

As far as Volkswagen, the sales of which are likely to be destroyed in October and onward by its emissions scandal, September was a mediocre month, which will show how far it had to come to be competitive. Sales rose 7.8% to 48,000

Commenting on the scandal, Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for KBB, said:

While the Volkswagen scandal will have a negative impact on sales, the affected models represent less than a quarter of their portfolio, and some dealers have already depleted their stock of those units The larger issue is the hit the automaker’s brand image and perceived trustworthiness, which may affect sales of their other models. We think the effects on September sales won’t be too bad for Volkswagen Group’s combined sales, but October and beyond could be another story.

In an industry enjoying one of its best years ever, VW will have its worst.

ALSO READ: Will Emissions Scandal Spread to Ford, GM, Chrysler Diesels?

By Douglas A. McIntyre