September 2015 Auto Sales: Winners and Losers

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Both leaves and temperatures may be falling across large parts of North America but auto sales did the exact opposite last month, increasing by a stellar amount as drivers flocked to showrooms like birds flying south.

September turned out to be a bonanza for the automotive business, with around 1.5 million cars and light trucks leaving dealerships. The industry’s dynamite performance was about 16 percent better than during the same month last year. Can you say growth?

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General Motors’ sales were up more than 12 percent and Ford posted a gain of nearly 24. Hyundai, Toyota and Nissan each grew by close to 20 percent. Basically the entire car business did well in September, but the kicker is these brands aren’t even the ones that topped the charts.

Winner: Subaru +27.8 Percent

Subaru’s deliveries grew by just shy of 28 percent, topping 53,000. Year-to-date they’ve sold more than 428,000 vehicles in the U.S. this year, an increase of 14.2 percent compared to the first nine months of 2014. This is the epitome of the phrase “slow and steady wins the race.”

Winner: Infiniti +30.4 Percent

Topping Subaru’s astounding September is Infiniti. Nissan’s luxury division grew its sales by more than 30 percent last month, with deliveries closing in on 11,000. So far this year they’ve sold just shy of 96,000 cars and crossovers.

Winner: Mitsubishi +35.9 Percent

It seems Mitsubishi always posts sales increases and last month was no exception. The triple-diamond brand’s deliveries grew by nearly 36 percent in September. Unfortunately for them this strong performance only resulted in an overall total of just 7,556 vehicles. Still, for all of 2015 their sales are up nearly 26 percent with more than 73,000 deliveries.

Winner: Jeep +39.8 Percent

Just like Mitsubishi, Jeep is a brand that won’t stop growing. Its September sales blew up, jumping skyward by nearly 40 percent. Its deliveries exceeded 77,000. Year-to-date more than 632,000 Jeeps have been sold in ‘Murica, an increase of nearly 23 percent compared to the same time period last year.

Winner: Scion +56.7 Percent

But topping even Jeep’s stellar performance is Scion. This Toyota division has been steadily sliding for months, mayhap even years, but the drop stopped in September. This brand’s sales increased by more than 56 percent last month, exceeding 6,500 units. Almost half of that was a combination of the brand’s two newest products, the iA and iM. For all of 2015 its deliveries are still off by 15 percent compared to the first nine months of last year, but at least the decline appears to have been arrested.

Loser: smart +0.3 Percent

September proved to be such a good month for automakers even smart’s sales increased. So, why is it grouped with the losers? Well, we normally highlight 10 automakers in these reports, five that did the best and five that did the worst. Unfortunately for us, last month only four brands saw their sales decline. smart was the closest to zero despite posting an increase of 0.3 percent, which means it’s a loser in this list. Make sense? Dealers sold 750 cars last month compared to 748 in September of 2014.

Loser: Chrysler -5.3 Percent

The Chrysler division’s sales dropped by a small but worthwhile amount, 5.3 percent. Pentastar dealers sold more than 27,000 cars and minivans in September compared to nearly 29,000 during the same month last year. So far for 2015 this brand has moved nearly 249,000 vehicles, an increase of 11.5 percent.

Loser: Jaguar -12.9 Percent

Falling even more than Chrysler was Jaguar. Its September sales were off by nearly 13 percent with deliveries totaling a hair fewer than 1,000 cars. Its sales for all of 2015 are down by 5.2 percent at 11,830. Hopefully new product (like the upcoming XF) can help this storied brand bounce back.

Loser: Maserati -33.8 Percent

Maserati’s September sales plummeted by nearly 34 percent, totaling a paltry 872 units. But wait a minute; that still means they sold more ultra-expensive exotics than smart did city cars. Digest that for a few minutes. Anyway, for the first nine months of 2015, Maserati’s sales are off 8.2 percent compared to the same time period last year.

Loser: Bentley -53 Percent

Finally we come to Bentley, the brand that did worse than any other last month. Its sales dropped by 53 percent. Total deliveries clocked in at 111. For all of 2015 they’ve sold just shy of 1,800 cars.

[Source: Automotive News]

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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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Join the conversation
  • Jonny_Vancouver Jonny_Vancouver on Oct 03, 2015

    It's interesting to see these market trends. I never would have thought Scion would have such a huge sales bump, Subaru I can totally understand, but Jeep, I didn't see that coming either. It seems there are more Jeep fans out there than I thought ... Cool stats.

  • JLinNation JLinNation on Oct 04, 2015

    And to think some Toyota Dealers wanted to ditch the Scion brand.