Automakers Post Big Sales Gains in August

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 4 2012 1:30 PM

Automakers Post Big Sales Gains in August

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A row of brand-new Ford cars is seen on the sales lot at Serramonte Ford on April 27, 2012 in Colma, Calif.

Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Carmakers are reporting their monthly sales totals today, and August is shaping up to have been one of the best months for the industry in recent years. The news is particularly good in Detroit, where the Big Three all reported double digit gains compared with the same month last year. GM was up 10 percent, while Ford and Chrysler's sales climbed 13 and 14 percent, respectively.

The Associated Press sets the scene:

Americans flowed steadily into auto dealer showrooms, ignoring high gas prices, hot temperatures, poor economic numbers and even a hurricane. Model-year closeouts and appealing new cars made it even easier for buyers to replace rapidly aging vehicles last month.
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Several of the major international makers haven't yet released their August numbers, but the industry appears set to beat industry forecasts for the month. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (known as the almighty SAAR in industry parlance) is likely to climb to around 14.2 million for the month. For comparison, the industry's high-water mark was set back in 2005 when 17 million or so new cars and trucks rolled off assembly lines. Four years later, however, sales figures like that seemed like ancient history as the industry sold only 10.4 million new vehicles, its lowest total in three decades.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.