Toyota, Honda Lead Jump in Car Sales
U.S. auto sales hit a 4 ½-year high in September, lifted by a big jump in passenger-car sales at Toyota Motor Corp., 7203.to +0.17% Honda Motor Co. 7267.to +0.08% and Chrysler Group LLC, which more than offset tepid results at some companies.
Toyota reported its sales rose 42%, Honda’s sales were up 31% and Chrysler notched a gain of 12%. Each was lifted by strong demand for passenger cars.
Overall sales rose 12.8% from a year earlier to 1.19 million cars and light trucks, an annualized pace of 14.94 million vehicles, the highest rate since March 2008 before the U.S. recession, according to Autodata Corp.
However, sales at the two biggest U.S. auto makers, General Motors Co. GM +2.56% and Ford Motor Co., F -1.41% were little changed from September 2011 due to weaker pickup truck sales and strong competition from Asian rivals.
GM reported it sold 210,245 vehicles in September, up 1.5% from a year earlier. Ford sold 174,454 light vehicles, 456 fewer than a year ago. GM was dinged by a 19% drop in sales of its top-selling vehicle, the Chevy Silverado pickup. Ford recorded a 1% rise in sales of its big pickup, the F-150, but overall truck sales declined 7.6% because it is ending sales of its Ranger pickup.