U.S. Auto Sales Climb 20% in August 2012


Kurt McNeil, head, U.S. sales, General Motors, mentioned that auto industry has been one of the bright spots in the economy for several decades. He added that the auto sales could go up further in the coming months and this trend would continue in spite of still existing economic challenges. He claimed that there is a gradual and consistent but slow growth in the auto industry.

Autodata mentioned that the total auto sales were 14.52 million vehicles in August 2012 on an annualized, seasonally adjusted basis, compared to sales of 12.46 million in August 2011. This has been the best sales growth after the August 2009 incentive program, ‘Cash for Clunkers’ funded by the government.

Majority of these sales have been from people who have been postponing the purchase of new vehicles after the 2008 financial crisis and the continuing severe economic downturn. The demand has been slowly accruing over the past several months and has resulted in a good sales data for August 2012.

However, automakers considered these gains reflected improving economic outlook. Jenny Lin, economist at Ford, stated that the economic fundamentals have been modest but quite stable. She added that this growth was consistent with the forecast of Ford for a 2.0% to 2.5% economic growth in the United States.

The major gainers in this improvement in auto sales have been Toyota and Honda. Both companies suffered in sales in the previous year due to shortages in supplies due to the devastating quake and tsunami in Japan.

Sales of Toyota surged 46% to 188,520 vehicles and sales of Honda grew 60% to 131,321 vehicles. Even though some of the growth could be attributed to the recovery of sales by these companies from the problems of last year, Bill Fay, general manager, Toyota, maintained that the growth was in response to the latest models the company launched during the past 12 months.

Ford also registered a gain of 13% in sales with 197,249 vehicles and announced that it would increase its production for the fourth quarter by 7% to 725,000 vehicles. Ford also stated that it would add another third shift at Louisville Assembly plant for meeting increasing demand for its new small utility vehicle, Escape. General Motors sales climbed 10% to 240,520 vehicles, while Chrysler reported an increase of 14% in sales to 148,472 vehicles. Chrysler stated that this sales figure has been the best since 2007.