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Auto sales fell in September, hurt by early Labor Day—NY Times, Oct. 1

Sales of new vehicles in the United States slowed in September compared with last year, mainly because the Labor Day selling weekend fell in August.

Sales for General Motors (G.M.) fell for the first time since July 2012, sliding 11 percent in September, to 187,195 vehicles. Sales of its Chevrolet brand tumbled 14.7 percent, while GMC brand sales dropped 9.7 percent. G.M., the nation’s largest automaker, was helped by a 9.9 percent gain for Cadillac and 6.5 percent for Buick.

“September had only 23 selling days,” said Kurt McNeil, G.M.'s vice president for United States sales operations. “All of this goes a long way in explaining the month-to-month decline” in the annual rate of industry wide sales.

While sales fell for most automakers, Ford Motor and the Chrysler Group bucked the industry trend.

Ford said its sales rose 5.8 percent for its best September performance since 2006. It sold 185,146 vehicles, or 2,049 fewer than General Motors, to narrow a gap that hasn’t been closed since March 2011. Sales of the Ford brand rose 6.3 percent, while its Lincoln brand fell 5.1 percent for the month compared with last year.

The Chrysler Group reported sales rose 0.7 percent, extending a streak of consecutive year-over-year sales gains to 42 months.

Chrysler’s Ram trucks division rose 8.2 percent, compared with 1.6 percent for the Chrysler brand and 2.6 percent for Dodge. Jeep sales fell 4.5 percent. Fiat sales were down 24.4 percent, falling for the first time in 18 months.

The double-digit gains automakers reported over the summer moderated in September because two of the industry’s busiest sales days — the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day — took place in August, contributing to that month’s robust figures.

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