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Toyota says Sept. US auto industry sales best since March 2008

Oct 2 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp said that September U.S. auto sales were the highest since March 2008, before the recent recession that cut deeply into new vehicle purchases.

Toyota, which showed a gain of 41.5 percent in September auto sales from the previous year, said the industry's September sales rate will be 14.9 million on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis.

Toyota is No. 3 in the U.S. auto market in sales, behind leader General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co .

In the 10 years prior to 2008, U.S. auto sales averaged nearly 17 million in new vehicle sales a year.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Gary Hill)

((bernie.woodall@thomsonreuters.com)(+1-313-416-4071)(Reuters

Messaging: bernie.woodall.thomsonreuters@reuters.net))

Keywords: TOYOTA SALES/