Truck deals boost September U.S. auto sales

Truck deals, pent-up demand boost September U.S. auto sales

As reported in the Chicago Tribune, U.S. auto sales will likely rise 8 percent or more in September as dealers offered generous cash incentives on pickup trucks that amounted to as much as $10,000 a vehicle in some areas of the United States, analysts said.

The annual sales rate is expected to be around 14.5 million in September, according to a Reuters poll. That would mark the fourth straight month the sales rate has held above 14 million, buoyed by pent-up demand and attractive credit terms.

Automakers, led by General Motors Co , are offering the cash incentives to help sell down excess truck inventory at a time when truck sales typically accelerate, analysts said.

Truck demand been slightly weaker than usual this year, due in part to high gasoline prices that have stayed near $4 a gallon this year, Kelley Blue Book analyst Alec Gutierrez said.

“There are some pretty sizable incentives out there,” he said. “All the manufacturers overestimated the strength of the truck market this year and probably overproduced.”

Analysts were quick to point out that the incentives are not large enough to signal a return to Detroit’s historic pattern of offering steep discounts to meet outsized sales targets.

In fact, incentive spending overall fell 6.7 percent this month as cars and crossovers commanded higher prices, auto research firm TrueCar.com said.

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