This is an update of our earlier report with additional sales results from Ford, Toyota, Honda and other makers.
August auto sales exceeded even the more optimistic forecasts – countering concerns the auto industry would be hammered by fears of a double-dip recession and a hurricane that shut down much of the East Coast during the final weekend of the month.
Still, not everyone could cheer about the August numbers. Detroit’s automakers reported strong demand, especially for their more fuel-efficient models – as did Japan’s second-largest manufacturer, Nissan. But things didn’t work out nearly as well for Toyota and Honda, both of those makers still feeling the pinch of product shortages nearly half a year after the devastating earthquake and tsunami crippled the Japanese auto industry.
“We’re carrying good momentum and we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ll see U.S. economic growth improve in the months ahead,” said Don Johnson, General Motors’ North American sales chief. During a media background briefing, Johnson suggested that, “Consumer are being cautious, yes, and appropriately so, but they are not retrenching.”