US sales of General Motors, Toyota stand out as others falter

WASHINGTON: General Motors and Toyota saw rising new car sales in August, riding continued strong demand for SUVs and light trucks, while other automakers sagged at summer’s end, according to industry figures released.
Fiat Chrysler and Nissan each saw double-digit declines compared to August of last year, while sales of Ford and Honda also fell.
After record 2016 sales and falling fuel prices, automakers have struggled to maintain momentum this year.
Overall US vehicle sales retreated 1.9 per cent in August, according to figures from Autodata Corp.
Cars sales fell 8.5 per cent, offsetting the 2.4 per cent gain in light trucks.
Automakers were expected to act aggressively to boost sales in the US Gulf Coast region, as it recovers from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
“Toyota simply beat the snot out of its competitors in August with the compact RAV4 sport utility selling a dazzling 43,000 units,” Autotrader executive analyst Michelle Krebs said.
“It appears Toyota took those sales from Honda, Ford and Nissan.”
GM reported a 7.5 per cent increase over the same month of last year.
Chevrolet’s crossover Traverse model soared 83 per cent, and the Equinox gained 67 per cent, while the Silverado LD crew cab pick-up jumped 21 per cent.
The company also boasted of rising sales for its all-electric Chevy Bolt EV hatchback, which GM said had its “strongest sales ever” in the month. Deliveries remained comparatively low, however, at 2,052 cars.
Toyota sold 6.8 per cent more vehicles, largely due to a 28 per cent jump in SUVs, and a 21 per cent rise in trucks.
However, the popular Camry sedan also saw year-on-year gains of 12.7 per cent.
But amid falling gasoline sales, the Prius hybrid suffered 26.4 per cent decline.
Italian-American auto giant Fiat Chrysler reported an 11 per cent decline in US sales, led by falling fleet sales, part of what the company called a planned reduction in volume.
However, the company highlighted strong sales of Jeep and Dodge brands, with the Jeep Grand Cherokee having its best August since 2000.
“At Jeep, the growth in Compass, Renegade, and Grand Cherokee came at the expense of the Cherokee, which was down 50 per cent year-over-year,” said Rebecca Lindland, Executive Analyst at Kelley Blue Book. — AFP