Hot August Sales Set Records, Drive Pricing

The Detroit Bureau

U.S. new car sales reached a six-year high in August, and ana­lysts project a 16.1 SAAR for the month, but red-hot suc­cess is dri­ving new car pric­ing up as well.

Get the com­piled details on August sales, ana­lysts’ take and the impli­ca­tions.

Pick­ups con­tributed sig­nif­i­cant­ly to a red-hot August sales result.

U.S. new car sales appear to have reached a six-year high as buy­ers raced back to show­rooms in hot August – but the news wasn’t all good from a con­sumer stand­point. While car sales are adding momen­tum to an econ­o­my still look­ing for trac­tion, buy­ers may have wound up pay­ing record prices for new vehi­cles last month, accord­ing to a pre­lim­i­nary analy­sis.

Sales of new cars, trucks and crossovers appear to have run at a 16 mil­lion annu­al­ized pace, accord­ing to indus­try ana­lysts, with Gen­er­al Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toy­ota and Nis­san among the many brands to show dou­ble-dig­it gains. Hyundai, set anoth­er sales record despite the impact of capac­i­ty prob­lems wors­ened by a labor dis­pute in South Korea. Volk­swa­gen was one of the rare losers, sales slip­ping 1.8% for the month.

The glob­al sales lead­ers report­ed a 22.8% gain for the month in the U.S. mar­ket. Up 22.3%, Nis­san had an August sales record. With a 21.5% gain, Audi of Amer­i­ca blew past the pre­vi­ous record it set in August 2012 and record­ed its 32nd con­sec­u­tive month­ly gain.

J.D. Pow­er and Asso­ciates and oth­er ana­lysts project total sales for the month will have come in at a 16.1 mil­lion Sea­son­al­ly Adjust­ed Annu­al Rate, or SAAR.

Ford report­ed a 20% sales increase dur­ing August, and com­pa­ny econ­o­mist Ellen Hugh­es-Cromwick sug­gest­ing new vehi­cle sales ben­e­fit­ed from improv­ing eco­nom­ic con­di­tions.

Lit­tle more than four years out of bank­rupt­cy, Chrysler Group report­ed its 41st con­sec­u­tive month­ly sales gain, the Ram Truck brand lead­ing the surge with a 29% bump. But all five of the maker’s brands, includ­ing lit­tle Fiat were up for August.

GM report­ed a 15% increase in sales and said Cadillac’s retail sales were the best since August, 1989 when George H.W. Bush was pres­i­dent and the Berlin Wall was still stand­ing.

 

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