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U.S. auto sales hit 15-month high

Posted Wednesday, Sep 2, 2009, 12:17 pm in Employee News

Droves of U.S. consumers, propelled by cash-for-clunkers vouchers worth as much as $4,500, helped drive August auto sales to their best performance in 15 months—welcome news after a long period of dismal sales, historic bankruptcies and uncertainty about the future, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Ford Motor Co. delivered the best result among the nation’s largest automakers, with a sales gain of 17.2 percent, the paper said. But General Motors and Chrysler LLC both reported sales declines severe enough to cost them critical U.S. market share, the Free Press said.

Of the more than 1.26 million consumers who bought a new vehicle in August, nearly 58 percent chose a passenger car over a less-efficient pickup, van or SUV—a shift that shows the impact of the clunkers program, the paper said. Typically, car and truck sales are split more closely.

The biggest winners in August were smaller Asian automakers, Subaru and Hyundai, which posted sales increases of 51.5 percent and 47 percent, respectively. Among large automakers, Ford’s performance was followed by Honda, up 9.9 percent, and Toyota, up 6.4 percent, the story said.

The industry’s positive sales results came on the heels of two other optimistic reports—gauging U.S. manufacturing and future home sales—and added to evidence that the recession might be ending and that a recovery might be under way in the auto sector, the paper noted. (Detroit Free Press)
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