Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Automakers on Tuesday posted significant sales gains in September, driven by discounts to customers and replacement of hurricane-damaged vehicles.
General Motors Co. announced a 12 percent sales gain on Tuesday over last September, driven by a 17 percent gain in its Chevrolet division. Ford Motor Co. said its sales rose nine percent, with a 21.4 percent increase in its F-150 pickup truck. Each reported sharply higher sales of its pickup trucks and SUV models compared to the same month last year. Toyota Motor Corp. improved by 15 percent, largely because of its newly remodeled Camry sedan, the Detroit News reported Tuesday.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. reported a 10 percent decline. The drop was anticipated due to the company's planned reduction in sales to rental car companies.
Full reports for the auto industry are expected to show that September sales were the highest in 2017. Prior to September, sales declined every month in the year, following a seven-year run of steady increases.
Large discounts to customers propelled the September increase, with manufacturers offering deals to reduce a backlog of vehicles sitting on dealer lots since spring.
Strong demand is expected to continue in the short term. The Wall Street Journal, citing economist Jonathan Smoke of the research firm Cox Automotive, said the replacement of 600,000 vehicles lost to hurricanes in Texas and Florida is anticipated. Sales prompted by prior weather disasters generally increase within two months of the start of the recovery.