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Published: Saturday, 10/2/2004

September sales of U.S. autos accelerate


General Motors Corp. said yesterday its U.S. sales soared a surprising 20.5 percent in September, but the U.S. automaker also cut production and raised incentives as it grapples with high inventories of unsold vehicles.

U.S. sales of the Toledo-made Jeep Liberty were up 15 percent last month compared to a year ago with 12,233 vehicles sold, and they are up 9 percent nationwide so far this year with 129,594 sold.

Toledo-made Jeep Wrangler sales increased 7 percent last month compared to a year earlier with 5,307 vehicles sold nationwide, making the U.S. total so far this year 63,462, a 22 percent jump.

Ford Motor Co. posted its fourth-consecutive month of weaker U.S. sales with a 7 percent drop in September sales.

Because of GM's surge and stronger results from other automakers, September could be among the strongest months of the year for the industry, despite the hurricanes across the U.S. Southeast and slipping consumer confidence.

Chrysler posted its sixth straight month of stronger results, fueled in part by higher sales for its new Chrysler 300 sedan.

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