Automakers report record sales gains for August

Sep 4, 2012

While a number of automakers posted U.S. sales gains for August, brands such as such as Hyundai and Audi set all-time sales records, and brands such as Volkswagen, Honda and Toyota reported the highest percentages in sales increases.

Hyundai Motor Co. said it set an all-time August sales record for the Hyundai brand with an increase of 4%, and Kia Motors sales are up 21.5% compared to the same period last year, delivering the brand’s 24th consecutive monthly sales record.

Audi also reported that it set an all-time U.S. August sales record with a 13% increase, marking its 20th consecutive month of record U.S. performance. August sales momentum benefitted strongly from robust demand for the technologically advanced Audi A6 generating a 58% sales increase for the month and a 112% year-to-date increase.

After 12 consecutive months of increases of at least 25%, VW brand sales rose by 63%. The automaker continued to benefit from redesigned models in key segments, notably small and mid-sized sedans.

Toyota continues its recovery with a 46% rise in sales, a 40% jump from August 2011, a year depressed by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that disrupted production and limited supplies of cars to sell. Honda, another automaker recovering from quake-related product shortages, saw American sales soar by 60% this month.

GM, aided by Olympics advertising and a Chevrolet promotion, reported that its sales rose 10%.

According to CNNMoney, Chevrolet’s Volt, a plug-in hybrid, saw record sales with an increase of 800% from a year ago.

Notes Edmunds’ senior analyst Jessica Caldwell, “The small-car performance is what’s most impressive about GM’s numbers today. Cruze, Sonic, and Spark were all unknown nameplates just a few years ago, but now they almost equal the volume of Silverado, the core of Chevy’s identity.”

Contributing factors to stronger light-vehicle sales could include better access to financing, signs of improvement in the labor market, pent-up demand from weaker July sales and increased consumer discounts. Improving housing market and better financing deals may also encourage consumers to replace aging cars and trucks.

Meanwhile, Chrysler produced a 14% increase, marking a 29-month streak of consecutive monthly increases in U.S. sales. Chrysler’s U.S. sales have advanced 26% this year, with car volume up 49% and truck deliveries rising 18%.

Ford Motor reported a 13% rise in sales, with retail up 19% over August 2011.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expect overall new-vehicle sales to be up 16%-20% from last year.