WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA-September may mark the first time that new-vehicle retail sales have remained strong throughout the month since the vigorous selling rate at the beginning of 2011, according to J.D. Power and Associates, which gathers real-time transaction data from more than 8,900 retail franchisees throughout the United States.

The September retail seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) is expected to come in at 10.3 million units, which is up significantly from the 9.6 million-unit rate in August. The total light-vehicle selling rate is forecasted at 13 million units for the month.

"As vehicle inventory improves from the shortages during the past four months, buyers are showing resilience despite the troubling economic environment," says Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. "While conditions remain challenging, a robust selling rate in September will help to ease fears of weaker vehicle sales in the fourth quarter."