Most automakers posted a sales decrease last month – something the industry blames on a glitch that left September with only 23 selling days over last September’s 25.
General Motors sales tumbled 11 percent, partially because of struggles with its supply of pickup trucks and also because of aggressive financial incentives by competing brands and a 27 percent dip in fleet sales, among other issues. Ford’s F-Series pickup trucks were helped by incentives of as much as $5,000 last month, and the company’s overall sales climbed six percent. Chrysler also continued to expand, although only by a single percentage point.
Despite that, TrueCar.com reports that transaction prices were up 5.2 percent. Incentives fell slightly overall compared to last year, and the industry was actually at a record high for the second straight month.
“While September’s sales didn’t match those of the summer months, the prices buyers are paying continue at a record pace,” said Jesse Toprak, senior analyst for TrueCar. “A higher number of 2014 model year vehicles arriving at the dealerships with much lower incentives and the continued appetite of consumers for well-equipped vehicles helped keep transaction prices at record levels.”
SEE ALSO: Toyota Named Most Valuable Auto Brand
Sluggish sales weren’t widespread enough to affect Subaru, which posted a 15 percent increase over last year – the brand’s best September sales month to date. Strong demand for the 2014 Forester compact crossover, which aced the IIHS small overlap crash test most fail, saw a 75.1 percent bump over September, 2012.
Even Toyota – named the automotive industry’s most valuable brand yesterday – saw a 4 percent drop last month. But the lower numbers were expected, largely because Labor Day weekend fell during the August sales calendar.