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Chrysler reported a 12 percent increase in U.S. sales in September from a year earlier.
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Date published: 10/3/2012
AP Auto Writers
DETROIT--Americans found plenty of reasons to buy new cars in September, and that made auto sales a bright spot in the economy for yet another month.
Sales rose for most automakers, led by gains of more than 30 percent for Toyota and Volkswagen.
Buyers needed to replace aging cars, banks offered cheap loans, and auto companies rolled out a promising lineup of fuel-efficient models. Beneath that, buyers felt more confident about the jobs market, a key factor influencing car sales.
Toyota sales rose 42 percent from a year earlier, while Volkswagen jumped 34 percent from September 2011. Detroit didn't fare as well. Chrysler reported a 12 percent increase, but General Motors and Ford sales were either up slightly or flat. Nissan, which has been hurt as Toyota and Honda recover from last year's earthquake in Japan, saw sales fall 1.1 percent.
After all car companies finish reporting Tuesday, total U.S. sales are expected to rise to more than 1.1 million vehicles, up 11 percent from September 2011. Most analysts expect an annual rate around 14.5 million.
Auto sales have stayed robust this year, even as other parts of the economy weakened. They've maintained an annual pace of at least 14 million most months. And on Tuesday, Chrysler's U.S. sales chief, Reid Bigland, said that September sales for the industry could reach an annualized rate of nearly 15 million, making it the best month since March of 2008.
"We remain optimistic about the health of the U.S. new vehicle sales industry and our position in it," Bigland said.