Many drivers scrambled to replace their flood-damaged cars in the past six weeks, as a result the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for all U.S. light vehicles hit 18,57 million units last month. That was up from 16.14 million in August and well above 16.0 million forecast. It was the highest sales rate since July 2005.
While U.S. sales rose beyond the storm zones, according to automakers and dealers, much of the September gains came after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Replacing cars during the recovery in southeast Texas and Florida will boost U.S. new and used auto sales through at least November, according to industry consultants. General Motors Co stock rose more than 3 percent to its highest level since its 2010 post-bankruptcy initial public offering, and Ford Motor Co closed up more than 2 percent at $12.34. GM’s sales jumped nearly 12 percent versus September 2016 as a 43 percent increase in sales of crossovers and a 10 percent rise for pickup trucks offset an 11 percent decline for passenger cars.
Ford sales rose 8.7 percent in September, with those to consumers up 4.4 percent and lower-margin fleet sales up 25.1 percent. F-Series pickup truck sales soared 21.4 percent, benefiting from the popularity of pickups in Texas.