US automakers post August sales above 16m unit annual rate

04 September 2013 21:04  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US automakers posted stronger-than-expected August sales on Wednesday, and two automakers said for the first time that the industry is poised to sell more than 16m cars and light trucks this year, which would be its best year since 2007.

According to figures compiled by Autodata, Ford led the way among the former Big 3, reporting that August sales rose by 12.8% compared with a year ago. Chrysler and GM both reported year-on-year sales gains of more than 9%.

Other big gainers for the month included BMW, up 12%; Honda, up 11%; Nissan, up 10.3%; and Mercedes-Benz, up 11.6%.

Ford said in a press release that it reported the highest August sales since 2006, driven by a 30% increase in small-car sales and F-Series pickup truck sales that eclipsed the 70,000-unit mark for the second time this year. Ford also said it plans to produce 785,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, a 7% increase from 735,000 cars and light trucks a year ago. Third quarter production remains unchanged, Ford said, at 740,000 vehicles.

GM said sales at its Cadillac division were up 38% from a year ago, while Buick sales rose 37%, GMC increased by 14%, and Chevrolet was up 10%. GM said August sales were the highest of 2013 and the best since September 2008.

GM estimated that industry-wide sales in August were at a 16.3m unit annual rate. Chrysler pegged the annual pace at 16.1m units.

That's good news for petrochemical makers who supply acrylonitrile, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, polycarbonate, nylon and other materials to the US auto industry. Early forecasts predicted that auto sales this year would be about 15m units, up from 14.5m cars and light trucks a year ago, but forecasts have since risen to the 16m-unit annual range. Automakers and petrochemical firms have said that October is shaping up to be the biggest month of the year, as automakers ramp up production to introduce more than 20 new models over the next few months.  

By: Mark Yost
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