Following months of steady increases, September new-car sales dropped 5% with the largest seven automakers reporting.

Sales varied widely by manufacture last month, ranging from small gains to fairly significant losses. Though fuel prices stayed low relative to September 2012, car buyers did not turn to large SUVs and pickups as may have been expected. And as full-size pickup sales rose less than 1%, some are mindful of a potential plateau in the housing rebound. Nevertheless, automakers remain optimistic about new-car sales, citing strong industry fundamentals, rising consumer confidence and an improving economy as we approach the end of 2013.

For more on last month’s sales trends, check out KickingTires article on the Top 10 Best-Selling Cars of September. KickingTires blog September 2013 Automotive Sales Trends