auto sales, which continued to be a big driver of economic recovery in August and on the year as a whole.
The auto industry sold
new cars and
trucks at annualized rate of 16.1 million in August, the best showing since 2007 and 16-percent higher than a year ago. The only downside for consumers is that demand is running so high that prices are up and incentives are down.
TOP 5Most Popular Vehicles On AOL Autos
It’s the old supply-and-demand curve. Consumers, feeling flush from
stock market gains and looking at their old cars, are getting out to showrooms in droves before borrowing rates increase as they are expected to by the end of the year. According to a report by
TrueCar.com, the average transaction price –- what consumers pay factoring in both incentives and options –- surged 3.2-percent year-over-year to $31,252. Twenty years ago, any car costing more than $30,000 was considered a
luxury car. Now, that kind of money just buys «average.»
News was good nearly across the board and for nearly every automaker. The luxury segment experienced some of the biggest jumps: BMW brand vehicles gained 35-percent, while Audi,
Land Rover and Lexus all posted sales increases of 20-percent or better during August.
Honda was up 27-percent, while
Toyota rose 23-percent and
Nissan jumped 22-percent. Subaru was up a lusty 45-percent.
Detroit automakers are enjoying the economic surge, too. GM was up 15-percent, while
Ford each gained 12-percent. Ford would have posted even higher sales, but is working through shortages of its popular
Fusion sedan. At GM, sales advanced 38-percent at
Cadillac, 37-percent at
Buick, 14-percent at GMC and 10-percent at
«We have a lot of momentum and we feel good about the direction of the U.S. economy,» said Kurt McNeil, head of U.S. sales operations for GM.
GM, Ford and Chrysler are all seeing big profits from truck sales this year, which are up along with housing starts and home values. Pickup trucks are by far the domestic companies’ most profitable vehicles. Ford recently added a third shift at a key truck plant to keep up with the surge in demand. And it hired 1,400 new workers at its Flat Rock, Mich., assembly plant to build more Fusions.
Read about the Ford Fusion, AOL Autos 2012 Car of The Year, here.
Ford, GM, Toyota and Nissan shares, as well as shares of several auto parts makers, were trading well ahead of the broad market today on the news.