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August Auto Sales Turn in Better-Than-Expected Results

Positive economic news overwhelms sales deterrents.

by on Sep.04, 2018

Fiat Chrysler sales rose in August, including a 10% jump in Wranglers, and Ram set a new record.

Despite talk of sales slowing, Fiat Chrysler N.V., Nissan, Volkswagen and Audi all reported sales increases for August.

FCA reported sales of 193,718 vehicles, a 10% increase compared with sales in August 2017 of 176,033 units. Overall, FCA US retail sales rose 17% to 164,727 vehicles. Fleet sales, which the company is trying to cut down, accounted for 15% of total sales.

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Sales were led by both the Jeep and Ram brands. Ram posted two new records for the month.

“Our August results highlight how the all-new Ram light duty is coming into its own,” said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. Sales. “Ram light-duty total sales rose 55% to 36,798 vehicles for the month.”

(Car buyers paying more, on time as lenders raise risk threshold. Click Here for the story.)

Ford sales jumped 4.1% in August, led by the company's F-Series pickup trucks.

Ford Motor Co. exceeded expectations, posting a 4.1% sales increase during August.

“F-Series completed 16 straight months of sales gains, while Ford Brand SUVs were up 21% in August,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president.

“With greater production output and stronger stock positions, our two newest products had a terrific August. Sales of our all new Expedition were up a strong 95%. Right now, the hottest vehicle in America is our all-new Lincoln Navigator, which saw sales expand by more than 100% in August.”

General Motors doesn’t report monthly sales totals but analysts estimated that GM sales dropped last month.

Cox Automotive had forecast General Motors sales in August to be down 7.5% from year-ago levels. Considering overall market performance and the fact GM is in short supply of full-size pickups as it transitions to an all-new model.

(Click Here for more about Ford getting smacked with ratings cut by Moody’s.)

Audi continued its string of monthly strong sales reports led by its crossovers and sport-uses.

Toyota reported its sales dropped 2%, while Lexus sales fell 7%. Nissan brand sales climbed roughly 4%, although its luxury unit, Infiniti, dropped by 1.7%, according to the company’s monthly sales reports. Volkswagen saw sales rise slightly, 0.5% as Audi rode crossover sales to a 5.5% jump last month.

American Honda saw a small increase of 1.3%, which was led by a 17.1% jump in Honda truck sales while its Acura division where overall sales jumped 14.8%, also led by truck and SUV sales, which were up 30.8% in August.

The month’s sales were strong, but better than expected.

“There were few surprises in August sales, as we had forecast healthy sales. However, given all the positive economic news, including a high stock market and low unemployment rates, we might have expected even more, particularly compared to last August which was negatively impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” noted Charles Chesbrough, Cox, senior economist.

(To see more about new vehicle sales rising slightly in August, Click Here.)

“This is why we believe all the positive economic news can’t overtake the worsening buying conditions for consumers: The economy may be peaking right now, but the vehicle market likely peaked two years ago,” he added.

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