U.S. auto sales unexpectedly up in August as consumer demand rises

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Sales of automobiles in the U.S. for the month of August surprisingly improved, driven by strong sales by Ford, Chrysler and Nissan, as the industry is recording volumes last seen in pre-recession era.

Sales of Ford inched up 0.4 percent, the U.S. car maker reported on Wednesday. The Fiat SpA unit Chrysler posted a 20 percent increase, while Nissan recorded an 11.5 percent gain.

August sales of General Motors Co dropped 1.2 percent, narrowly missing analysts’ estimates. GM and Chrysler posted robust gains in sales of full-size pickups, which provide the majority of their earnings.

The auto sales figures provide a picture of consumer demand as the industry comprise one-fifth of the total retail spending in the world’s largest economy.

Industry analysts forecast monthly industry auto sales to be at around 1.5 million new vehicles, and a seasonally adjusted sales rate of 16.6 million of an annualized basis.

Two factors affecting the sales data in August include a higher percentage of zero-interest loans and the four-year low gas prices, according to research firm Edmunds.com.

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