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September New Car Sales Expected to Jump 12%

Carmakers will report September 2015 U.S. sales of new light vehicles next Friday, October 1, and analysts at Kelley Blue Book (KBB) are expecting monthly sales in the neighborhood of 1.39 million units and a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.5 million units. September sales are projected to rise nearly 12% year over year, due in part to a calendar shift that moved the Labor Day holiday from August in last year’s sales to September this year. Month over month, sales are forecast to drop by 11.7%.

Of the eight automakers tracked by KBB, all are expected to post solid year-over-year gains in September.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) is tagged by KBB to post September market share of 17.7% of all U.S. light vehicle sales, with a total volume of 246,000 units. That represents a month-over-month increase of 0.5 points in market share and a 9% drop in unit sales. GM sold over 223,000 units in September of 2014 and had market share of 18%.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is expected to post new light vehicle sales of 205,000 in September, up 14.2 compared with September 2014. KBB expects market share to improve as well, from 14.4% last year to 14.7% this year. Ford nabbed 14.9% of the U.S. market in August.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) is expected to post a year-over-year sales increase of 13.6% by KBB analysts, from about 167,000 units last September to 190,000. KBB also sees Toyota market share slipping rising by 0.2 points year over year to 13.7% for the month. Last month, Toyota’s market share totaled 14.3%.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) will post a 10.7% year-over-year sales volume increase to 188,000 units, according to KBB, and the company’s market share will decrease by 0.1% to 13.5% in September. Chrysler’s market share in September 2014 totaled 13.7%, and in August the company’s market share came in at 12.8%.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) is expected to post a 14.2% year-over-year increase in sales to about 135,000 units. KBB sees Honda’s market share for September at 9.7%, up from 9.5% last September and down from 9.9% in August 2015.

Year-over-year volumes at Nissan, Hyundai-Kia and Volkswagen are forecast to rise by 12.7%, 18% and 7.8%, respectively, in September. KBB analyst Alec Gutierrez noted:

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.

Compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) and crossover sales are forecast to rise 30.7% year over year in September, to 203,000 units and 14.6% of the market. This segment leads in both volume and market share, with full-size pickups posting the second-largest share, 14.3%. Midsize and compact car sales are forecast to rise 11.8% and 10.3% year over year, respectively. Midsize SUV/crossover sales are forecast at 153,000 units and market share of 11% in September.

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By Paul Ausick