|September sales for the top six automakers. Click to enlarge.|
US sales of light-duty trucks and SUVs rebounded in September, increasing to 720,092 units—5.4% more than sales in September 2005, according to figures gathered by Autodata. Total light-duty vehicle sales in the US increased 1.9% in September 2006 from September 2005, climbing to 1,354,365 units.
By contrast, sales of passenger cars dropped 1.9% from the prior September to 634,273 units. In September 2006, light trucks accounted for 53% of new light-duty vehicle sales, up from 51% in September 2005. For the nine months through September 2006, light-truck sales were down 8.2% from the prior year, while passenger-car sales were up 1.8%. For the first nine months of 2006, light trucks accounted for 52% of all new light-duty vehicle sales.
GM and Ford still posted month-on-month declines in their light truck sales, but not the sharp decreases of prior months of this year. Ford’s economically important F-Series trucks halted their decline in sales with an increase of 1.2% in September sales to 70,822. (By contrast, total sales of all Ford Brand cars for the month was 72,566. That figure, however, marked a very sharp 43.7% increase from September 2005.)
Likewise, Chevrolet’s full-size pickup sales climbed 11.4% to 58,170 units.
A big boost in truck and SUV sales came from Toyota, whose sales of those vehicles increased 35% to 95,583 units. The increase in Toyota sales accounted for 67% of the total increase in light duty truck sales from September 2005. Sales of the Tundra full-size pickup jumped 67% to 12,609 in September.
|Price of regular grade gasoline in the US. Click to enlarge. Source: EIA|
Honda also saw a sharp climb in light truck sales, with an 11.6% increase to 49,114 units.
By the beginning of October, the average price of gasoline in the US (all grades, all formulations) had dropped to $2.36 per gallon—an 18% drop from the average $2.89 at the end of August 2006 and 21% below the price one year ago.