U.S. new-car sales keep accelerating, with August seeing a new high fueled by dealer incentives, easier credit terms and higher demand for trucks and sport-utilities.
Overall, auto sales rose to an annualized 17.5 million pace, according to researcher Autodata Corp. That’s the fastest pace since January 2006.
Meanwhile, automakers, banks and other lenders are approving more longer-term loans — as long as seven or eight years — to people with low credit scores.
While the average price of a car is rising, some customers are getting substantial discounts.
It’s an amazing comeback considering the industry only sold 10.2 million new vehicles in 2009, during the bottom of the Great Recession. Automakers sold more than 17 million vehicles in the U.S. since 2001.
Chrysler soared 20 percent in August, while General Motors posted a 1 percent drop and Ford sales were flat from a year earlier. Chrysler’s sales again was led by Jeep Cherokee and Ram trucks. Jeep sales surged 49 percent, while Ram sales rose 39 percent.
Nissan and Subaru led Asian automakers with increases of 11.5 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Toyota was up 6.3 percent, Hyundai sales jumped 6 percent, Kia, 5 percent, and Honda nudged up 0.4 percent. Volkswagen posted a 3.8% decline.
The strong performance comes at the end of the summer season, when car companies usually offer additional rebates and discounts on vehicles to clear inventories for new models.