US automakers post first monthly sales gain of year in Sept.

Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 9:55 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 9:53 AM


            This Wednesday, April 26, 2017, photo shows the logo on the wheel of an SUV in front of a Chevrolet dealership in Richmond, Va. General Motors and Ford each posted strong U.S. sales in September 2017, confirming predictions that the industry could rebound for the month. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This Wednesday, April 26, 2017, photo shows the logo on the wheel of an SUV in front of a Chevrolet dealership in Richmond, Va. General Motors and Ford each posted strong U.S. sales in September 2017, confirming predictions that the industry could rebound for the month. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The auto industry posted its first monthly sales gain of the year in September, led by strong truck and SUV sales and the replacement of cars destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

U.S. sales rose 6.1 percent to just over 1.5 million vehicles, according to Autodata Corp., as Toyota, Honda, Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Volkswagen all posted strong numbers. Of major automakers, only Fiat Chrysler and Hyundai reported sales declines.

Industry analysts predicted that positive sales would continue through the end of the year fueled by customers whose cars were destroyed by Harvey and Hurricane Irma in Florida. But sales aren't expected to be strong enough to match last year's record of more than 17.5 million.

Christopher Hopson, manager of light-vehicle forecasting for IHS Markit, said September had a perfect mix of hurricane replacement demand, high incentives, rising fleet sales and strong sales of outgoing 2017 models.

"While this strong level of demand isn't expected to be sustained throughout the fourth quarter, these short-term supports are not likely to drop off in a meaningful way, setting the stage for strong Q4 results," Hopson said in a statement.

GM reported on Tuesday that sales rose 11.9 percent from a year ago, while Ford sales rose 8.7 percent. Toyota posted a 14.9 percent increase, while Nissan sales were up 9.5 percent and Honda sales rose 6.8 percent. Volkswagen said its sales rose 33.2 percent over numbers that were depressed a year ago by its diesel emissions cheating scandal.

Fiat Chrysler sales fell 10 percent and Hyundai, which relies on cars for much of its results rather than SUVs and trucks, saw sales fall 14.4 percent. Both blamed reductions in sales to big fleet buyers such as rental car companies.

Industry analysts had predicted a small sales rise for the month, with the Edmunds.com auto site expecting a 0.4 percent increase. But automakers, aided by hurricane sales, powered past the forecasts.

For the first nine months of the year, overall industry sales were down 1.8 percent. September sales would have been even higher without Hurricane Irma, which forced many Florida dealerships to close for a week or longer due to lack of electric power.

Ford gained 5,000 to 6,000 sales from replacement of flooded cars in the Houston area, where it offered employee pricing. But it lost about 1,000 vehicle sales in Florida due to closed dealerships, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Mark LaNeve said on a conference call. He expects industry sales to get a boost through the rest of the year from cars being replaced due to hurricane damage.

Strong pickup truck and SUV sales once again propelled the September increase.

Ford's F-Series pickup sales rose 21 percent from a year ago, while SUV sales were up 8.8 percent. Inventory levels dropped to a 72-day supply, and LaNeve said Ford may even increase production to raise that a little. Automakers have been trimming production, especially of cars, for much of the year.

Even car sales, which have been battered during the past few years as buyers switched to SUVs and trucks, showed a bit of life. For instance, Toyota's midsize Camry, once the top-selling car in the U.S., posted a 13 percent sales gain as all-new 2018 models reached showrooms. Honda's Accord, once the No. 2-selling car, saw a 9.5 percent increase.

Still, Edmunds predicted that midsize cars would drop to the fifth-largest segment so far this year with just 10.7 percent of the market, the lowest share recorded since Edmunds began tracking numbers in 1991. Midsize cars were the top-selling segment in the U.S. just three years ago, but have been passed by compact SUVs, large trucks, midsize SUVs and even compact cars, Edmunds said.

Vegetables sold at Walmart, Trader Joe's recalled for Listeria

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 9:43 PM

Mann Packing recalled various vegetable products over Listeria concerns. (Photo: Food and Drug Administration)
Mann Packing recalled various vegetable products over Listeria concerns. (Photo: Food and Drug Administration)

Mann Packing is voluntarily recalling various vegetable products sold at Walmart, Trader Joe's and Target over concerns of Listeria monocytogenes, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The company said “a single positive” test result in random sampling by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency sparked the decision to issue the recall notice. Listeria infection can cause fever, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms and even miscarriages.

"As an owner of this company and a mom, providing safe and healthy foods to our consumers and their families is always our top priority," Gina Nucci, director of corporate marketing, said in a release.

The recall includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli and vegetable medley products distributed throughout the United States and Canada with “best if used by” dates from Oct. 11 to 20.

Affected items include:

  • Walmart 12-oz. bags of broccoli cauliflower florets, broccoli florets and stir fry medley, 32-oz. bags of broccoli florets, 16-oz. bags of broccoli slaw, 10-ounce bags of cauliflower florets and super blend, 6/16-oz. bags of cauliflower and 2-lb. bags of vegetable medley.

  • Trader Joe's, 10-ounce bags of kohlrabi salad blend.

  • Archer Farms 12-oz. bags of broccoli slaw, broccoli cauliflower florets, broccoli medley and brussels sprouts, 9-oz. bags of shaved brussels sprouts and 10-oz. bags of cauliflower florets.

Aldi supermarkets also issued recall notices for Mann products.

Conjoined twins thriving after surgery to separate them

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 8:33 PM

Conjoined twins were separated and are thriving. (Photo: WSOCTV.com)
Conjoined twins were separated and are thriving. (Photo: WSOCTV.com)

Conjoined twins from Mooresville are thriving nearly five months after a long surgery to separate them.

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Erin and Abby DeLaney, 15-month-old girls, were attached at the top of their heads.

Their surgery, which was on June 6, took 11 hours, but it was a success. They were recently discharged from the hospital.

The family said it is grateful to the team at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Priscilla Presley parts ways with Church of Scientology, reports say

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 8:06 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Dream Foundation)
Jesse Grant
File photo. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Dream Foundation)(Jesse Grant)

Priscilla Presley has quit the Church of Scientology, 40 years after she joined, according to the Daily Mail.

“I’ve had enough. I’m done,” Presley reportedly said.

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Presley — who initially joined the church after the death of her husband, Elvis — allegedly told friends she was leaving.

The church’s membership includes a long list of Hollywood celebrities, including John Travolta and Tom Cruise.

“Priscilla reached out to John Travolta after Elvis died in 1977, and that’s how she ended up in the church,” the source said. “She has been in it ever since, and she raised her daughter, Lisa Marie, in it.”

Lisa Marie Presley left the church in 2014, which apparently made remaining with the church a difficult task for her mother.

“They are very close as a family, and leaving the church has been a family decision,” the source claims.

In recent years, several celebs have ditched the church, including Katie Holmes and Nicole Kidman, who are both ex-wives of Tom Cruise, still a member himself. The testimonies and interviews of former member Leah Remini; one of the stars of the popular sitcom, “King of Queens,” appear to be impacting the church.

Halloween display of nude, disfigured hanging dolls ‘disgusting,’ neighbors say

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 4:46 PM

An eerie  hanging doll display pictured here in Mexico is a tourist attraction, but a similar display at a home in Plymouth, Mich., prompted police complaints. The display was removed.
Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
An eerie  hanging doll display pictured here in Mexico is a tourist attraction, but a similar display at a home in Plymouth, Mich., prompted police complaints. The display was removed.(Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Residents in a neighborhood in Plymouth, Michigan, said they were shocked and a little disturbed by a Halloween display they said crossed the line.

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The display featured nude and disfigured dolls bound and hanging from a tree with tape over their  eyes and in various other places.

It was just one of the many displays in a yard full of ghoulish decorations, including gravestones and skulls.

"I think they're cute when they're spooky, but I don't like hers," neighbor Marilyn Yoe told WXYZ.

 

"My grandkids say why would you hang babies in a tree? That's no Halloween."

Yoe wasn’t alone. Other neighbors complained, too.

"I think it's disgusting," KC Gibson said. 

"You see all the ghosts and jack-o'-lanterns on people's porches and then dolls representing little kids being hung from a tree, and that's not what Halloween is about," Gibson told WXYZ.

Plymouth police received multiple calls about the disturbing display, but said the hanging dolls weren’t breaking any laws.

Yoe said that while she didn’t like the display, her neighbors have the right to display anything they want in their yard.

>> Related: Homeowner creates amazing Halloween light show, synced with ‘Feel It Still’

WXYZ reported the family that lives in the house is on vacation, but another relative has since removed the dolls.