Relatively cheaper gas is helping fuel higher sales of SUVs and trucks nationwide, as the U.S. auto industry seems impervious to stock market turmoil and stagnant wages with a robust August in the books.
U.S. Consumers surprised the experts who had projected a decline in August sales. Early data on Tuesday found sales of about 17.5 million vehicles on an annualized basis, easily beating the forecast of 17.3 million vehicles, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of 47 economists.
General Motors (GM) the No. 1 automaker in the U.S., reported that sales dropped 0.7 percent, better than projections of a decline of as much as 5 percent.
No. 2 Ford Motor Co. recorded a gain of 5 percent, beating expectations of less than a 1 percent rise from a year ago. It was mostly sales of F-series pick-ups and SUVs that propelled Ford’s gains.
“Customer demand for our newest vehicles made August a strong month for Ford,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Improved availability helped make August the strongest sales month this year for F-Series. We also had our best month of Ford SUV sales in 12 years.”
Ford’s newest SUVs saw sales gains, with Edge and Explorer up 36 percent and 22 percent, respectively. This helped drive a 12 percent increase in Ford brand suv sales, for a total of 69,077 vehicles sold.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) registered a stronger-than-expected rise of 2 percent, bolstered by Jeep SUV and Ram pickup truck sales. Analysts had expected a decline of FCA sales. The Jeep brand’s 18 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any FCA US brand during the month.
“In spite of a tough 2014 comparison and extreme stock market volatility, our dealer’s competitive spirit kicked in and propelled us to our 65th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases,” said Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales. “Our Jeep brand turned in a double-digit increase while eight individual models, including four Jeep brand vehicles, set sales records.”