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US auto sales stronger than expected in August

US, September 3, 2015

The US auto industry powered ahead in August, topping sales estimates and shrugging off gyrating stock markets as consumers continued to show their penchant for pickup trucks and SUVs.

US auto sales were the strongest in any month since July 2005. The annualised selling rate in August was 17.8 million vehicles, according to Autodata Corp, well above expectations of 17.3 million.

The six largest automakers in the US market all beat the sales forecasts of industry analysts, with Toyota, Honda, Nissan and GM reporting declines that were not as severe as expected.

Roller-coaster stock markets appeared to have no major impact on auto purchases, which each month are an early indicator of consumer spending.

“All of the economic fundamentals that we look at, including job growth, disposable income and fuel prices, are in good shape and that should keep sales strong,” said Kurt McNeil, head of US sales for General Motors Co.

Bill Fay, head of Toyota brand sales in the US market, pointed out that US consumer confidence in August was at its highest since January.

GM, the No. 1 automaker in the US market, reported that sales dropped 0.7 per cent.

Ford Motor Co, the No. 2 US automaker by vehicle sales, showed a gain of 5 per cent, easily outdistancing expectations.

Toyota Motor Corp, No. 3 in US sales, reported an 8.8 per cent decline in August.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles showed a rise of 2 per cent, boosted by Jeep SUVs. Analysts had been looking for a decline in FCA sales. - Reuters

Tags: US | Trucks | SUVs | auto sales |

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