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Car sales strengthen in September

September 23, 2011 | 11:06 am

Despite the European debt crisis, the lack of job growth in the U.S. and other generally depressing economic news, auto sales continue to tick along.

The retail sales rate for new vehicles in the U.S. this month looks “much stronger than in August,” according to J.D. Power & Associates, which gathers sales data from about 8,900 dealers. That's about half of all the dealers selling cars nationally.

“Coming off a solid Labor Day sale, retail sales exhibited unexpected strength in the second week of September, as the recovering inventory levels have helped to bring buyers back into the market,” said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power.

The annual sales rate for all vehicles, including the retail segment of the market and what rental car companies, commercial customers and government agencies purchase, will hit 12.9 million this month, up almost 1 million vehicles from August, the auto information company said.

Economists believe a sales rate of at least 13 million will provide support to the struggling economy.


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Photo: A 2012 Volvo S60 is parked and waiting for transport to dealership at the Georgia Ports Authority Colonel's Island auto import and export terminal in Brunswick, Ga. Credit: Bloomberg