Soft Market Leads To Disappointing August Auto Sales

Ford, Chrysler and Toyota report declines; GM goes against trend with 5.3 percent increase.

DEARBORN, Mich. — For August, Ford Motor Co. continued to see strong demand for crossover vehicles, but overall sales fell 14 percent from last year to 218,332 units.
“We are encouraged by consumers’ response to our new products,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas. “Demand for our new crossovers continues to grow despite challenging economic conditions.”
Chrysler LLC sold 168,203 units in August, down 6 percent from August 2006.
“Overall, the industry experienced softer sales in August than a year ago,” said Darryl Jackson, Vice President, U.S. Sales. “Our fleet sales are down more than 20 percent versus August 2006. While this has driven the overall sales decrease for the month,, it is directly in line with the company’s Recovery and Transformation Plan to reduce sales of our daily rental fleet during the second half of the year.”
The remaining Big Three member, GM, saw a sales increase of 5.3 percent over August 2006 levels. The domestic automaker sold 388,168 units last month, due to full-size pickup and crossover sales.
“Bucking the trend in the industry, we were able to post healthy sales results in August. When combining retail sales with our growing commercial business, our sales were up when compared with last August. Importantly, last month was our third-best retail month of the year,” said Mark LaNeve, Vice President, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. “With the double-digit decline in daily rental sales so far this year, and an overall market that remains challenging and competitive, we continue to stabilize our retail share and pricing in the market.”
Toyota, which has set production goals to overtake GM as number one automaker, reported a sales decrease of 2.8 percent from August 2006.
The Toyota Division sold 201,272 units, down 3.7 percent. The Lexus Division had best-ever August sales of 32,199 units, up 3.6 percent.
“Reduced credit tied to the subprime squeeze challenged consumer confidence this month,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales Executive Vice President. “We’re holding our own on the strength of a strong dealer body, sustained brand loyalty and a lineup of fresh quality products.”
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