Consumers streamed into auto dealers last month, pushing industry sales to their highest level for an August in 11 years.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai all posted gains while General Motors and Volkswagen saw sales slip, according to monthly figures reported Wednesday.
“It was a fabulous month for the industry,” said John Krafcik, president of car shopping company TrueCar Inc. Automakers sold nearly 1.6 million vehicles in the U.S. in August, a 5.5% increase from the same period a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp. August sales surpassed last year’s total.
Auto sales are on track to exceed 16 million this year for the first time since 2007, said Michael Ward, an analyst with investment house Sterne Agee. U.S. light-vehicle sales exceeded 16 million units every year from 1999 to 2007 but plummeted as the nation headed into the Great Recession.
Favorable lending rates, an improving economy and a large number of vehicles coming off leases are supporting demand for new vehicles, Ward said.
“The industry has a lot of momentum,” said Bill Fay, Toyota’s U.S. sales chief.
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