Chrysler reports best sales month since March of 2008, citing a "stable" economy as one reason.
New car sales in September were up about 10-percent over last year, led by Toyota with a 42-percent increase and Volkswagen with a 34-percent jump.
Chrysler easily led among U.S. car makers with a 12 percent increase, while a decline in truck sales forced Ford to experience an overall drop in sales this year compared to last.
General Motors' truck sales were down too, but passenger cars saved September.
"We characterize the month as great, particularly from a passenger car segment...we had great passenger car sales," says General Motors vice president of U.S. sales Kurt McNeil.
For G.M., great means a 29-percent gain in passenger car sales.
Analysts also say the lowest interest rates on new car loans since 1971 is helping.
Record low mortgage rates are moving the housing market, where home prices ticked up four and a half percent from a year ago.
The National Retail Federation added to the optimism as well, projecting a 4.1 percent increase in holiday sales this year over last, and maybe more with Washington's help.
"We're confident that if Congress and the Administration would resolve these issues, that this 4.1 percent projection would actually be higher," says the federation's Matt Shay.
The retail group's also predicting more than 600,000 Americans will find temporary jobs this holiday season, some of which may be reflected in the jobs report that comes out Friday.