Chrysler says September sales best since 2007

Chrysler Group LLC, the smallest U.S. automaker, on Tuesday said 142,041 vehicles were sold in September, up 12 percent from 127,336 a year ago, and the most sold in September since 2007.

All of the company's brands -- Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck and Fiat -- posted sales increases in September, said Chrysler, an affiliate of Italy's Fiat SpA.

U.S. industry sales in September, including medium and heavy trucks, were estimated to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14.9 million, Chrysler said. Typically, medium and heavy trucks add around 300,000 vehicles to the sales rate, suggesting a 14.6 million pace for the month.

That would be slightly higher than analysts' forecasts of a 14.5 million sales pace in September, according to a Reuters poll. Attractive financing offers, cash incentives on trucks and pent-up demand fueled September sales.

Last month, incentives on trucks averaged more than $3,000 a vehicle compared with $1,888 for cars, according to

"Going forward with our current product lineup, record-low interest rates and a stable U.S. economy, we remain optimistic about the health of the U.S. new vehicle sales industry and our position in it," Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Chrysler, said in a statement.

Sales of the company's new Dodge Dart, introduced earlier this year, continue to rise. Chrysler said it sold 5,235 Darts in September, a 72-percent jump from August.

Fiat brand sales totaled 4,176, the highest monthly mark ever in the United States, Chrysler said.

(Reporting By Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Maureen Bavdek)