Car sales soar for GM and Chrysler, defying weak economy
Car companies had a good month in September despite the overall weak economy.
General Motors Co. said its U.S. sales jumped 20% to 207,145 vehicles compared with September 2010. Chrysler Group's sales surged 27% to 127,334 vehicles, marking the company's best September since 2007.
"For GM, all of the factors that say this is a good time to buy a new vehicle outweigh the bad news that appears to be slowing down the broader economic recovery," said Don Johnson, GM's vice president of U.S. sales operations.
Other auto companies also appear to be steering clear of an economic slowdown.
Volkswagen of America said sales of its VW brand rose 36% to 27,036 vehicles in September.
"The pace was ahead of people’s expectations. ... We continue to see recovery in the industry, although at a moderate pace," said Johnathan Browning, chief executive of Volkswagen of America.
Browning estimates that the industry's annual sales pace topped 13 million vehicles in September.
"As vehicle inventory improves from the shortages during the past four months, buyers are showing resilience despite the troubling economic environment," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power & Associates. "While conditions remain challenging, a robust selling rate in September will help to ease fears of weaker vehicle sales in the fourth quarter."
GM said it continues to expect that full-year U.S. vehicle sales will be at the low end of a range of 13 million to 13.5 million units, given seasonally strong sales and the fact that some of the company’s competitors have largely resolved their production issues.
-- Jerry Hirsch
Photo: A GM Buick Regal on display in China. Credit: Andy Wong / Associated Press