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.