General Motors reports August sales gain; Ford, Chrysler and Toyota decline

General Motors reports August sales gain; Ford, Chrysler and Toyota decline http://tinyurl.com/2njyej
General Motors Corp. today said it posted a 5 percent North American
sales gain in August, delivering 388,168 vehicles and recording a 26 percent market share, its highest of the year.
GM said full-size pickup trucks and crossover SUVs -- led by the GMC Acadia, Saturn OUTLOOK and Buick Enclave -- were among the automaker's best sellers despite flat incentive spending,
Toyota Motor Sales USA said its August sales were down 2.8 percent to 233,471 compared with 240,178 vehicles in the same month a year ago. The company blamed the downturn on consumer jitters caused by the meltdown in the subprime lending industry.
Still, car buyers snapped up 14,055 of the carmaker's Prius hybrid sedan, up nearly 26 percent from a year ago. Toyota's Lexus division posted record August sales of 32,199 units, up 3.6 percent.
Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC said their continued, deliberate withdrawal from sales to daily rental-car fleets dampened overall sales.
Ford Motor Co. said its August sales were off 14 percent compared with the same period in 2006, with sales in the rental-car fleet channel off 44 percent.
But the automaker said it's encouraged by demand for crossover products like the new Edge and Lincoln MKX.
Overall the company sold 218,332 units in August, down from 255,112 a year ago.
Last month's figure includes 10,165 Edge crossovers and 3,421 of its counterpart Lincoln MKX. Also improved were sales of the redesigned Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner models.
Nevertheless, Ford said its fourth-quarter North American production target is 640,000 units, up 6 percent from 2006.
Chrysler said its August sales of 168,203 were off 6 percent compared with 179,165 a year ago. Excluding the effect of decreased fleet sales, the automaker said, its sales to retail consumers were up, with strong demand for its Sebring sedan and convertible. Jeep sales were down 1 percent but the Dodge brand gained 13 percent, led by the Caliber and Nitro.
Industrywide, Edmunds.com, a Web site for car buyers, is predicting August sales will be down 5 percent from a year ago, but improved from the steep declines of June and July. CSM Worldwide forecast that U.S. sales will fall to 16.2 million in 2007, from 16.5 million last year. If that happens, sales would be at their lowest level since 1998.
Also reporting today:
*Nissan North America, which posted unit sales of 95,527, up 6.3 percent from 89,848 vehicles in August 2006.
*American Honda Motor Co. said its monthly sales of 158,342 Honda and Acura sales were an all-time monthly record, up 4.7 percent.
*Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. said it sold 13,020 units in August, up 19 percent from 10,954 a year ago.
*Mercedes-Benz USA reported a record 20,980 unit sales in August, up 1.8 percent over 2006.
*Audi of America Inc. said its August sales were up 7.1 percent, to 7,620 vehicles from 7,115 a year ago.
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