DETROIT — (WWJ) Early indications are that car and truck sales for September will come in roughtly 12 percent over 2011. That could make it the strongest month in nearly five years.

Toyota lead the way with a sales increase of 41.5 percent. Volkswagen saw a 34 percent sales increase. Both companies have a lot of new products. Toyota is also recovering from last year’s earthquake and tsunami.

Chrysler lead the domestic car companies with a 12 percent sales increase.

“Last month marked our 30th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases and our strongest September in five years,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO – Dodge Brand and Head of U.S. Sales. “Going forward with our current product line up, 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.”

September was the Fiat brands best month ever. The Dodge Dart also showing momentum, with a 72 percent sales increase from August to September.

It was a strong month for small cars overall.

“Fuel economy remains one of the most important features customers want most today, and Ford is answering the call with five vehicles that deliver 40 mpg or better – with another three on the way by year-end,” said Ford vice president of sales Ken Czubay.

Ford sales were flat year to year. But certain individual vehicles and categories were strong.

Ford says its small car sales were up 73 percent over last year. It was also the best month ever for the Escape. A new model boosted sales of that small SUV by 14 percent.

GM, which had a 1.5 percent sales increase overall, also posted strong small car sales.

Analyst expect the strong sales to continue through the fourth quarter.

“Auto sales will continue to be a bright spot for the U.S. economy, which is particularly good news for GM as we walk into an even stronger cadence of new products in 2013 and 2014,” said GM sales operations vice president Kurt McNiel.

WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert will be following car sales reports as they come in throughout the day. For instant updates, you can follow his Twitter Feed (@jefferygilbert.)

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