WNY car sales speed ahead

October 17, 2011 Updated Oct 17, 2011 at 7:40 AM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First Re


WNY car sales speed ahead

October 17, 2011 Updated Oct 17, 2011 at 7:40 AM EDT

Continuing a trend that took hold this summer, new vehicle sales in the Buffalo Niagara region have remained on an upward path.

According to statistics compiled by the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association, new vehicle sales increased 4.1 percent in September as compared to last September. In hard numbers, the dealers association reported 4,358 new vehicle sales last month, up from the 4,185 reported in September 2010.

For the year-to-date, 38,763 new vehicles were reported sold by the association, up 4.2 percent from the 37,178 sold year-over-year.

Ford, which is sold at 14 area dealers, lead all auto makers with 1098 new sales, up 29 percent from the 850 new vehicles the Ford dealers sold last September. Neither Chevrolet nor Suzuki report annual sales to the association.

"The economy was a small part of it," said Frank Downing Jr., Towne Automotive Group president.

Ford is one of several automotive brands sold by Towne.

"The bigger push came from Ford's new line up of Explorers, Focus and Fiesta," Downing said. "We have a stronger Ford product to sell."

Other top selling brands in September included:

• Toyota with 503 reported sales.

• Nissan, 401 sales

• Honda, 261 sales.

• Dodge, 249 sales.

• Jeep, 239 sales.

• Kia, 194 sales.

• GMC, 191 sales.

• Hyundai, 191 sales.

"Hyundai would have been higher, but as soon as the cars came in, they sold," Downing said.

Even auto brands like BMW and Mini had strong months. Towne has the region's lone BMW dealership and it sold 54 Beemers in September, up slightly from 52 it sold last September.

Mini, which is also part of Towne's portfolio, sold 31 new cars last month compared with 17 last September. Towne operates the region's only Mini dealership.

"When it comes to Minis, we are selling everything we can get," Downing said.

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