Although September still has a full week of selling days left, Shanks expects the month's seasonally adjusted sales to reach close to 13 million units. That would mark a significant improvement over August's 12.1 million unit rate.
Shanks attributes the strong growth to increased inventory levels at the Japanese automakers. Both Toyota and Honda were hit hard by Japan's March 11 earthquake, causing a dramatic drop off in new car inventories.
Although there were concerns that the Japanese automakers could use deep incentives to help make up for lost sales, Shanks says that scenario is not playing out. "There were fears the Japanese would come in hard and heavy," Shanks said, "but it is not happening."
The domestic automakers are, however, leaning on incentives, which is fueling a renewed push of full-size truck sales.
September's sales figures are due out October 3.
1.'Ford: U.S. sales...' view