In our monthly Joe Friday “just the facts” section we present the final results for U.S. light vehicle sales for the month of August 2009. With a seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) of just over 14 million it was by far the strongest month of the year.
The 40% increase was almost all attributable to taxpayer money under the CARS — Clunkers — program, which handed out up to $4,500 rebates — tax free — to the purchase of a new vehicle with no matching funds required from automakers who stood to gain the most from it.
Small car sales were up. Truck sales were down. Luxury makers languished.
Some makers did add incentives, notably Chrysler which doubled the government match on some vehicles to what appears to be little positive effect.
The big question remains what happens in September? Our dealer friends are reporting that their showroom traffic died after the frenzy caused by Clunkers expired.
The results are in the chart below.