New car, truck sales on Long Island soar 13%

The new Fiat 500 Turbo was among the

The new Fiat 500 Turbo was among the models boosting Chrysler sales in September. (Credit: Handout)

New car and truck sales on Long Island roared ahead of last year's numbers by 13 percent in July, according to newly available registration figures.

Separately, major carmakers Tuesday reported that sales nationally last month rose by 13 percent from a year earlier, to nearly 1.2 million. The biggest gains were by Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen.

In July, Long Islanders registered 16,589 new cars, SUVs, vans and pickup trucks -- 1,896 more than in July of last year, according to figures from Michigan data provider R.L. Polk & Co. The increase came despite mixed national economic news and steadily rising gasoline prices.

Honda and Toyota led the way, with their inventories fully recovered from the effects of last year's earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Honda registrations rose by almost 40 percent in July from a year earlier to 2,298 vehicles, making it the bestselling auto brand on Long Island. Toyota registrations rose by 12 percent, to 1,619 cars and trucks.

It appeared, though, that some of those gains were at Nissan's expense; its Long Island registrations fell slightly, to 2,019 vehicles -- still enough, however, to make it the Island's second bestselling make.

Hyundai registrations rose by 5.6 percent, to 1,334 vehicles.

Among domestic makes, Jeep continued to be a standout locally in July, with registrations up by 25.5 percent from a year earlier, to 1,087 vehicles. "We have seen an increase in the Jeep product, mostly driven by the Grand Cherokee and secondly by the four-door Wrangler," said owner Michael Villani of Garden City Jeep Chrysler Dodge in Hempstead.

Ford's numbers locally fell slightly in July from a year earlier, to 922 vehicles, while Chevrolet's rose 5 percent to 799 cars and trucks. Among major European makes, Volkswagen showed the largest gain in July -- 28 percent, to 722 vehicles.

For the year to date through July, total new vehicle registrations on Long Island were up by almost 5 percent from the first seven months of 2011, to 111,965, according to the Polk figures. Local dealers sold 184,385 vehicles in all of last year, up 4.3 percent from 2010.

Nationally, last month Toyota sales rose 42 percent from a year earlier. Honda's rose by 29 percent, led by the redesigned Accord, whose sales rose by almost 57 percent. Volkswagen's sales jumped 34 percent from September 2011, and Chrysler reported a 12 percent increase. But General Motors sales rose by only 1.5 percent from a year earlier and Ford's sales were flat. Nissan sales fell 1.1 percent.

-- With AP

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