New Vehicle Sales Update

The U.S. auto industry’s September sales rate could be one of the highest of the year, according to a Ford Motor Co. analyst. The bump in sales is being helped by an increase in demand for full-sized pickups.

According to Ford, U.S. sales of pickups are at their highest pace since December. Big pickups are tracking at about 13 percent of industry vehicle sales this month, up from about 9 percent in April and May. In addition, the weak housing market has not impacted pickup demand because the vehicles usually sell well in September and October on strong incentives and advertising.

The annual pace of light vehicle industry sales from January through August is about 12.5 million units. The annual sales pace for September is on track to reach 12.9 million vehicles, compared with the 12.1 million rate in August, J.D. Power and Associates said. The annual sales rate in September 2010 was 11.7 million vehicles.

Overall, U.S. light vehicle demand is up 11 percent this year thru August to 8.5 million units.

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