The federal government may have shut down for the first time in 17 years, but that didn't keep automakers from reporting sales. With the largest seven automakers reporting numbers, September new-car sales fell 5%.
Chrysler stayed roughly flat as an 8.4% bump in Ram pickup truck sales offset losses from the group's Jeep and Fiat brands. Ford rose slightly, while Toyota and Nissan saw small losses. Larger losses came at Honda (down 9.9%) and Hyundai-Kia (down 13.9%, mostly due to a 21% plunge at Kia). GM fell 11% from losses at Chevrolet and GMC, including full-size pickup sales. The Chevrolet Cruze plunged 50.6% versus a strong September 2012 as lower inventory played against higher incentives for the compact sedan, which has encountered fierce competition since it hit dealerships three years ago. Other small cars faltered, too: The Honda Civic and Dodge Dart had decent months, but the Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Nissan Sentra saw double-digit losses despite redesigns for the latter two. Toyota Corolla sales stayed flat despite a redesign, too, and the Volkswagen Jetta fell 9.8%.