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Volkswagen reported sales up 34.4% to 36,663 vehicles for its best September sales since 1972.

And year-to-date sales are up 37.2% from the period a year ago.

"Volkswagenhad another 'best in 40 years' month with strong results for the Golf,Beetle, Tiguan and Touareg," said Edmunds.com senior analyst MichelleKrebs, but she added a caution. "The Passat had a good month, but itdipped below the 10,000-unit mark where it had been for the past fewmonths, so that's worth monitoring to see if it's an aberration or thestart of a trend."

Still it was the best September ever for Passatat 9,500, as it was for the Tiguan small SUV at 2,202. And during themonth, Passat passed the total sales in its previous best full year.

Alsogood news for VW was that its redesigned Beetle had its best Septembersince 2003, when the old model was a still relatively strong seller,though it has yet to equal the old New Beetle's golden era.

The Jetta compact continued to be the volume model at 12,584 sales. And a new hybrid Jetta goes on sale this month.

VW's high-mileage and fun TDI diesel models account for 23.9% of the company's September sales.

"Trackingover a 37% increase year-to-date is a strong proof point that ourproducts are on more shopping lists and gaining acceptance in themarket," said Jonathan Browning, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, in astatement. "As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, we expect tocontinue our pattern of outperforming the industry."

Thatapparently will include being willing to spend big on sales incentives.Autodata shows that in the 12 months through August VW sales incentivesrose an average 30.7% per vehicle to $2,114 from $1,617 a year ago, aperiod in which most automakers have cut incentives.

The jumpshows the VW brand is willing to jump in and buy sales like otherautomakers. From VW's view the spending just has risen to about theindustry average.

AUDI, VW's premium brand, meanwhileposted a sales gain of 26.5% in September and set a record for the monthof 12,302 vehicles. Sales are up 18.5% year-to-date.

Audi boastedin its release that its big-ticket models (A8, A7, A6 and Q7) generated35.7% of September sales, with the A6 up 83.7% and the Q7 SUV up 94.6%.The entry A4 continued to be the volume model, with sales up 12.8%.

And its high-profit new performance S models -- currently getting a big ad push -- accounted for 10.4% of the month's sales.

"Ournewly expanded lineup of S-model performance cars is delivering strongimmediate results," said Mark Del Rosso, COO, in a statement.

MERCEDES-BENZ said September sales were a record for that month.

Theentry model C-class was the biggest seller, at 7,872 sales, a rise of14.7%. The revised GLK small SUV also was a star, hitting 3,206 for ajump of 65.8%.

Those two accounted for 47.8% of all M-B vehiclesales in September and 40.6% through the first nine months. Thus, whatyou might picture as a purveyor of big, road-eating sedans has, infact, become a little-car company. In September, the only other M-Bmodel that posted sales anywhere close to the two top-sellers was theE-class mid-size sedan, at 4,826, down 5.8%.

M-B's tiny Smart car,now distributed directly by the automaker instead of through anindependent but reported separately from M-B-brand vehicles, more thandoubled September sales, up 119.6% to 1,030.

But averageper-car incentives have risen faster than that, up 174.5% for the 12months that ended in August, according to Autodata. September incentivesaren't available yet.

M-B, including Smart and the Sprinter van, both reported separately, hit 25,980 in the month.

BMW GROUPsaid it sold 26,660 BMW and Mini vehicles in September, up 3.5%, andmore than Mercedes-Benz in the fight for top luxury brand in the U.S.The first nine months of the year, BMW Group sold 234,928, up 7.1%,while M-B including all brands was at 214,331, up 16.7%.

BMW's X3 compact SUV, assembled in South Caroline, vaulted 63.7%, to 3,034, and the smaller X1, on sale since August, hit 1,570.

Mini sales rose 22.5%, to 4,899.

Eventhough the SUVs seem to highlight each month's sales, BMW remainssolidly a "car" company. The category that BMW straightforwardly calls"light trucks," was 34.4% of BMW-brand sales.

JAGUAR LAND ROVER sales rose 20% overall in the month, but the gains were all Land Rover, up 33%, while Jaguar sales were off 10%.

LandRover sales of 3,636 were led by the Range Rover Sport at 1,514 andEvoque at 599. Jag sales, still up 3% for the year, fell to 1,004 inSeptember, in advance of the arrival of what it hopes are potentialsales drivers for 2013 -- all-wheel drive and V-6 options for both theXF and XJ sedans, as well as a turbo four-banger for the XF.

PORSCHEreported September sales up 26% to 2,736. Year-to-date sales are up10.4%. The volume leader was the Cayenne SUV, up 47.3% for the month,and nearly 20% of Cayenne buyers opted for the diesel version. Sales ofthe Panamera sedan were up 17.9%.

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