GM on Tuesday touted sales of its new cars. At Chevrolet, Cruze sales rose 43% to 25,787, Volt sales rose 294% to 2,851 and Spark sales totaled 2,223. The new Buick Verano sold 4,092 units. The new Cadillac XTS sold 2,506 units and the Cadillac ATS, just arriving in showrooms, sold 611 units.

GM reported it sold 210,245 vehicles, leading to its best September since 2008.

"Inside these numbers was clear evidence that GM has become a formidable across the board competitor," said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations. Nevertheless, he said, "We're very humble and staying very hungry ... the good news is we're jut getting started." GM sales rose just 1.5%, however, as pickup truck sales fell about 20%.

Investors on Tuesday bid GM shares up 2.6% to $23.68, partially on sales but also because hedge fund manager David Einhorn painted a buy picture for investors.

Ford, meanwhile, had "its best small car month in a decade," said Ken Czubay, vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service. "Go back 10 years to September 2002 to find a comparison." Ford's total sales were flat, partially because sales of its top selling-car, the Fusion, slipped 37% to 12,300 as the 2012 model was cleared out.

The big winner in September was Toyota ( UAL), which saw sales gain 41.5%.

"The auto industry had another very encouraging month in September," said general manager Bill Fay on the Toyota sales call. Looking ahead, we see continued stability in the marketplace."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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