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.