Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) reported on Tuesday that September auto sales fell short of their expectations. Ford’s sales were down 0.1 percent in September 2012, compared to September 2011, according to FOXBusiness, while GM’s volume rose only 1.5 percent, which was less than analysts had predicted for the company.

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Ford’s sales dropped, despite a marked increase in its sales of small cars, like the Ford Escape, which sold 23,148 units in September, or nearly 14 percent more than were sold in the same month last year. Truck sales, on the other hand, declined 7.6 percent. In a statement responding to the unexpectedly weak month, a Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) executive said the company sees its small, fuel-efficient cars as its strong point, and the area where the company stands to see the greatest growth in sales.

“As more buyers look for new vehicles across the country, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is ready with our strongest lineup ever of fuel-efficient cars, utilities, and full-size pickups,” said Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, Ken Czubay.

GM’s sales grew 1.5 percent last month, compared to September 2011, as the company sold a total of 210,245 vehicles across all of its divisions. The growth, however, fell short of the 1.9 percent predicted by the automotive research firm Edmunds.

GM’s Buick and Chevrolet lines were its strongest performers. Buick sales rose 7.9 percent and Chevrolet was up 1.5 percent, which made up for weaker September sales among GMCs and Cadillacs. GMC volume was unchanged, while Cadillac fell 1.3 percent.

Despite the automakers’ disappointing September, analysts still expect the auto market to continue growing. In the wake of the release of September sales numbers, forecasters revised their seasonally adjusted rate for annual auto sales, up to 14.9 million, or 400,000 units higher than the 14.5 million predicted at the beginning of September. Low interest rates, cash incentives offered on many current models, and a backlog of consumers who had delayed vehicle purchases during the recent weak economy have industry observers cautiously optimistic that sales will be strong in coming months.

The weak month for General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) was in contrast to the performance of Chrysler Group LLC, which posted a nearly 12 percent improvement on its September sales from a year ago. This was Chrysler’s 30th straight month of year-over-year gains, and its best September since 2007.