(CHICAGO, Illinois-AFP) – US auto sales continued to accelerate in August, as GM, Toyota, Ford and Chrysler posted double-digit gains Wednesday.
Ford forecast that total industry sales would rise 17 percent in August once all automakers report results.
That would translate to a seasonally adjusted annual pace in the “mid-16 million vehicle range,” Ford sales analyst Eric Merkle said in a conference call.
“The news is even more positive than the overall numbers imply, as individual car buyers, not fleet sales, are behind the surge,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with automotive site Edmunds.com.
“The stars are aligned for strong retail sales: great new product, widely available cheap credit, and a desire and need by car buyers to purchase a new vehicle to replace their likely aged one.”
Toyota surged past Ford to win second place in August as sales jumped 23 percent to 231,537 vehicles.
“The auto industry continues to be a bright spot in the economic recovery,” said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager. “August capped a great summer for new vehicle sales and it was Toyota’s best month in more than five years.”
Ford was not far behind as sales rose 12 percent to 221,270 vehicles.
They were constrained by “tight inventories in some of our most popular models and a temporary pullback in fleet sales,” sad Ken Czubay, Ford’s sales chief.
GM’s sales rose 15 percent to 275,847 vehicles, the highest so far this year and the best since September 2008.
“The second half of 2013 is off to a very solid start for GM and our model-year change over and new product launches are going smoothly,” said GM sales chief Kurt McNeil. “We have a lot of momentum and we feel good about the direction of the US economy as we prepare to launch even more new products.”
Chrysler’s sales rose 12 percent to 165,552 in the automaker’s best August performance since 2007.
“All aspects of our business continue to improve as evidenced by our streak of 41-consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains,” said Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s head of US sales.