CHRYSLER LLC +61%
Chrysler's roller coaster climbed high in September, with the highest year-over-year increase of any major player. For some models, sales were several times greater, but that's compared to last year's wiped-out inventories; most models actually are down from last month. Still, Chrysler did pass Honda, taking the number four position -- although Honda is still ahead for the year. (And remember that, in the year-to-date race, an estimated one in four Chryslers are going to fleets, the highest percentage in the industry).
So out-of-kilter were Chrysler inventories last September, that the 300, with essentially the same sales as last month, appears to be the worst performer (-13% versus a year ago), while the PT Cruiser, having dropped by a quarter compared to August, nearly tripled last September's figure. The Sebring, +221% from last year and also up slightly from August, improved by either measure.
The Caliber results were nothing special by recent history, but look awesome (+652%) next to last September, after Cash-for-Clunkers wiped out inventory. All Dodges were ahead of last year, and the weakest-looking versus year-ago, the Charger (+17%), actually had the strongest increase over August (+34%).
Jeep +66% No vehicle better illustrates the dichotomy between increase over last year and decrease versus last month than the Compass. Sales for September 2010 were nearly ten times those of last September, yet fell by 43% compared to August. To see more legitimate growth, look at the Grand Cherokee, up by 95% over last year and 71% over last month.
The big Ram pickup (+26%) didn't enjoy the same year-over-year boost as some of its competitors, but the Dakota's increase looks great (+141%)-that is, until you see that it dropped by 39% versus last month.
AMERICAN HONDA +26%
Honda's year-over-year gain was just under the industry average.
The Fit's increase (+46%) was a bounce off of its post-Clunkers swoon, while the Pilot's similar figure (+48%) looks more genuine. The Accord remained in the number four spot overall, while the Civic dropped back behind the Corolla/Matrix, the Sonata, and the Altima.
Acura +48% Continuing recent trends, the MDX (+84%) was a big winner, while the ZDX, with 251 units sold, added very little to Acura's total.