BUCKING THE TREND: Japanese automaker Nissan posted a increase in its global sales for September. Image: iStock
Detroit - Nissan says its September sales rose 4.9%, defying analyst expectations of a US sales decline as demand for cars and trucks has peaked.
The Japanese automaker says it sold almost 128 000 vehicles in August, a record for September.
The company was led by sales of crossover SUVs and bakkies, which were up 18.9%. But car sales were down 5.8%. Sales of the Rogue small SUV were up 6% to more than 26 000, a September record.
US car sales on the decline
Nissan sales include the Nissan brand and the Infiniti luxury brand. The company is the first of major automakers to report sales on Monday.
J.D Power and LMC Automotive are predicting that US car sales will fall 1% to 1.4-million in September, the fourth month of declining sales in . But sales still will be at or near last year's record of 17.5-million.
That's mixed news for the industry. On the one hand, sales remain near historic highs. Favorable conditions such as low interest rates and low gas prices remain in place.
But after six straight years of growth, demand is clearly slowing. US sales were up less than 1% through August, and a decline in September could push the year's totals into negative territory.
Incentives assist dealers
That has automakers pushing harder for sales. Incentive spending hit a record of $3923 per vehicle last month, surpassing the previous high set in December 2008 during the recession.
BMW was offering $6732 in incentives per vehicle in September, up 44% from a year ago, according to TrueCar.com. Fiat Chrysler spent $4302 per vehicle on deals, up 23%. Buyers could get $4500 cash back on a 2016 Ford Escape or $2000 on a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu.
Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of automotive data for LMC Automotive said: "Competitive pressure is at an all-time high."