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Auto Sales Numbers: Not So Bad Now, But Wait A Bit

As I watched the latest sales numbers come in for the month of September, I was expecting another month of the Big 3 posting lackluster numbers. And while the sales figures by mid-afternoon Tuesday were not great, the sales last month were not a disaster:

GM up 3.8%
Ford down 17 %
Toyota down 0.6%

Among these numbers, the most intriguing is General Motors . Retail sales (those from dealers to individuals) for the country's largest automaker were up in September, and that's not bad given the relative discipline the company has shown with incentives. Holding the line and not throwing more cash on the hood is paying off for GM.

I wish I could tell you that we will see stronger auto sales the rest of this year, but most of the folks I've talked with in Detroit expect the weakness to continue well into the first quarter of next year.

Blame it on a weak housing market and sluggish consumer confidence. Sure a few new models will bring in buyers, but for the foreseeable future, don't expect much excitement with auto sales.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com


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