U.S. automotive sales increased more than 28% compared to September 2009 sales, newly released research finds. More importantly, last month’s sales marked a dramatic improvement over August—a month in which sales declined for most manufacturers.

Following is a snapshot of the major auto supplier’s U.S. performance in September 2010 vs. September 2009:

  • Audi: up 13%
  • BMW (including MINI): up 25%
  • Chrysler: up 61%
  • Ford: up 46%
  • GM: up 39%
  • Honda: up 26%
  • Hyundai: up 48%
  • Kia Motors: up 39%
  • Mercedes: up 22%
  • Mitsubishi Motors: up 5.3%
  • Nissan: up 34% (North America)
  • Toyota: up 16.8%
  • Volkswagen: 20.6%
  • Volvo: down 12% (North America)

For GM, September combined total sales for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac increased 22 percent to 172,969 units, driven by a combined 39-percent rebound in retail sales compared with last September. Each brand saw retail increases in excess of 21 percent, led by Buick, where retail sales were up 96 percent for the month.

September’s results also reflect an effective and quick model-year transition–a dramatic departure from last year’s changeover. Of GM’s retail sales for the month, 53 percent were new (2011) model year vehicles–almost double last year’s 27 percent. Dealer stock at the end of the month included 75 percent new model vehicles, compared to just 30 percent last year.

“We said our goal for this time of year was to achieve an orderly transition from past model to the new model year, and we’ve achieved that,” said Don Johnson, vice president, U.S. Sales Operations. “This helps us lower our overall selling costs and positions us to come out of the gates quickly during the new model year.”

Across town at Ford, consumer demand for that manufacturer’s fresh lineup of high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles in September helped grow both sales and retail market share. According to Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales in September totaled 160,873, up 46 percent versus a year ago. Ford’s market share also increased in September, marking the 23rd time in the last 24 months that Ford’s share of the retail market increased, Czubay noted. Year-to-date sales totalled 1.44 million, up 21 percent–growth more than double the overall industry rate. By Czubay’s count, Ford is on track to gain market share for the second year in a row–a result not achieved since 1993.

“The key to our success in the U.S. market is the relentless cadence of new vehicle, powertrain and technology introductions,” Czubay said. “Every high-quality, fuel-efficient new vehicle provides Ford and its dealers with an opportunity to reach new customers and build a stronger foundation for future growth.”

Chrysler, not to be outdone, achieved perhaps the biggest—and most surprising—turnaround in sales. Earlier this month Chrysler Group LLC reported U.S. sales of 100,077, an industry-leading (in terms of percentage) 61 percent increase compared with sales in September 2009—62,197 units, precisely.

September represents the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases, and the second month this year that Chrysler Group sales exceeded the 100,000-unit threshold. Nearly all Chrysler Group vehicle lines currently in production improved year-over-year sales.

“We will continue to build sales momentum this fall as a slate of new product begins arriving in our dealerships,” said Fred Diaz, president and CEO–Ram Truck Brand and Lead Executive for U.S. Sales. “Consumers soon will be able to see more of our all-new and significantly-refreshed vehicles in our dealerships.”

The new 2011 Chrysler 200, which replaces the Chrysler Sebring, and the all-new 2011 Dodge Durango sport-utility vehicle will arrive in dealerships during this quarter. Also arriving this quarter are the significantly-refreshed 2011 Jeep® Patriot, 2011 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, 2011 Chrysler Town & Country and 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, 2011 Dodge Charger and 2011 Dodge Avenger. Additional new models also will be available during this quarter.

In all, Chrysler Group this year is introducing 16 all-new or significantly- refreshed vehicles representing 75 percent of its nameplates.