US auto sales show signs of recovery in third quarter

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Director General of General Motors Co. 2,72%

Sales in the United States fell in the third quarter, but showed signs of strengthening as the U.S. auto industry continued to recover from coronavirus-related lockdowns that virtually brought business to a standstill this spring.

The US auto industry has rebounded faster than many expected this summer, in part due to strong demand for trucks and sport utility vehicles, an increase in urban consumers turning to car ownership ‘easier car and credit terms that make auto payments more affordable.

Analysts expected the pace of sales in September to be closer to what it was earlier this year, before the pandemic led to widespread business closings and travel restrictions in March.

GM said on Thursday that its third-quarter U.S. sales fell nearly 10% from the previous year period, but the drop was narrower than the 34% drop in the second quarter, when all of its North American factories were temporarily inactive to protect workers from the spread of the virus. GM said its production has mostly returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The Detroit automaker has benefited financially from the growing demand for large pickup trucks that have long been its focus, as well as cost-cutting measures put in place years in advance.

Competitor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV also reported a 10% drop in US sales in the third quarter, but the drop was smaller than the 39% drop in the second quarter. Ford engine Co.

Expected to release third quarter sales on Friday and Tesla figures Inc.

are also expected in the coming days.

Car buying website Edmunds.com estimates total sales for the U.S. auto industry for the third quarter will still be down 11%, but that’s an improvement from the nearly 31% drop. that occurred in the second trimester.

Growing demand from consumers who buy cars from dealerships is leading the recovery, as opposed to fleet operators and other companies who buy vehicles in bulk and are still reeling from the crisis.

A shortage of available vehicles – a hangover from auto plant closures this spring – is helping to drive up prices as automakers and dealerships withdraw promotions and other discounts.

Car buyers on average paid an all-time high of $ 35,655 for a new vehicle in September, up 5.6% from the same month last year, according to JD Power.

September sales were driven in part by the Labor Day weekend, when many dealerships are offering discounts to attract customers, but overall performance indicates strong underlying demand for new vehicles, said Thomas King, President of Data and Analytics at JD Power. “This despite a tight inventory for most of the most popular vehicles. ”

Hyundai engine from South Korea Co.

is one of several car manufacturers leading the industry comeback. Hyundai, which recently expanded its lineup to include popular full-size SUVs, said its U.S. sales rose 5.4% in September from a year ago and fell just 1% in September. third trimester.

Japanese automakers, which have less of a presence in booming truck markets, have been slower to recover. But for some, September was improving.

Toyota engine Corp.

TM -0,01%

said its third-quarter sales in the United States were down nearly 11% from the year-ago period, but saw a 16% gain in September, from SUVs like the Rav4 and the Highlander carrying the performance of the company.

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