August sales beat expectations, break records: 17.5 m. SAAR

August sales beat expectations, break records: 17.5 m. SAAR

Despite analystsê expectations that August sales would drop slightly and automakers forecasting an overall 3 percent rise, sales for the month were up 5.5 percent from a year ago. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate was an impressive 17.5 million.

Many factors contributed to the strongest sales in eight years: increasing consumer confidence, the prevalence of 0 percent financing with long loan terms, continuing pent-up demand, attractive lease deals. It helped that Labor Day weekend fell in August giving the month five weekends.

–Car-buying fundamentals, like employment and energy prices, are in good shape with consumer confidence reaching a post-recession high while business investment is increasing,” Kurt McNeil, GMês U.S. vice president of sales operations, said in a statement.

Some analysts are worried that August may have pulled sales from September. Still, LMC Automotiveês Jeff Schuster told Bloomberg he expects strong sales for the rest of the year.

Incentives were up $300 per unit, according to Kelley Blue Book, but the average transaction price of $32,495 rose $851 from a year ago.

Helped in part by low gas prices, light trucks, crossovers and SUVs sold well one reason that Chryslerês sales rose 20 percent as the automaker saw its strongest sales in 12 years. As Automotive Newsê Jesse Snyder put it, the lesson was, –Get trucky, get lucky.” Sales of passenger cars lagged.

Fifteen of the top 19 fastest-selling cars in August were SUVs, wagons or minivans versus 15 of the top 22 in July, said Cars.com. The list is based on –the average number of days it takes to sell models from the day they arrive on the lot until the final paperwork is signed by a buyer,” the company says. The top five fastest-selling MY 2015 vehicles: BMW X5, Toyota Tacoma crew cab (both 5 days), BMW M4, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Highlander (all 6 days). The list includes only vehicles that pass a set threshold of sales so as to eliminate limited editions and ultra-high performance cars.

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