Chrysler Sales Surged, Ford’s Fell in September

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
Source: courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
The analysts at Kelley Blue Book (KBB) issued their forecast for new car sales in September on Thursday, and compared with booming sales in August the current month is something of a retreat. KBB forecasts total sales at 1.24 million units, up from 1.136 million in September 2013, but down from 1.58 million in August.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of new car sales is projected to co come in at 16.4 million units, more than 9% higher than the 15.3 SAAR for September 2013, but down nearly 22% from the August SAAR of 17.4 million units.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is the only major automaker that is expected to post a decline in year-over-year sales in September. KBB forecasts total sales at 180,000, down 2.4%, or about 4,500 below the September 2013 level, and well below the 221,000 vehicles the company sold in August.

We’ve already noted the drop in Ford’s sales of its F-Series pickups and the KBB analysts project that the company’s market share will drop 1.7% year-over-year to 14.5% in September. Ford is working on a launch of its all-new aluminum-body F-150 pickup with pre-production units rolling off the line in late October, and the company has been trying to clear out inventory to make way for the new models. Most of the company’s dealers will have the new pickups by the end of the calendar year, but special orders and fleet sales are not expected to reach dealers until February.

Chrysler Group LLC is expected to lead in sales volume increase again in September. Total sales are forecast to reach 168,000, up 17.5% from a year ago, but down from  more than 198,000 in August. Chrysler’s market share is expected to rise 1% to share of 13.5% of the U.S. market, putting it in fourth place. Chrysler’s sales are being driven higher by both its Jeep and its Ram brands which have pushed the company’s market share to its highest level since 2007.

KBB forecasts General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) sales for September at 217,000, up 15.9% from more than 187,000 a year ago. GM sold 221,000 vehicles in August. The good news for GM is that its market share will rise a full point to 17.5% compared with its share of 16.5% a year ago. Given the troubles the company has had with recalls this is really nothing short of miraculous.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) is forecast to sell 176,000 vehicles in September, up 7% compared with last September but down from 246,000 units sold in August. The company’s market share has trickled down 0.3% year-over-year to 14.2%, good enough for third place behind GM and Ford and ahead of Chrysler.

KBB analysts also forecast that Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) will sell 118,000 vehicles in September, up from 105,500 a year ago, but down from 167,000 in August. Honda is also expected to pick up 0.2% in market share, raising its share to 9.5%.

Volkswagen continues to spin its wheels in the U.S. The KBB analysts forecast September sales of 50,000 units, down from nearly 57,000 in August, but up 3.9% year-over-year. VW continues to lose market share, dropping 0.2% to claim just 4% of the U.S. market.

The industry’s compact SUV/crossover segment is forecast to post a sales gain of 19.1% in September, more than double the year-over-year growth of its nearest challenger. The segment has now passed the full-size pickup segment to claim the third largest market share in the industry, behind the first-place mid-size segment and the second place compact car segment.

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