DETROIT — Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, and General Motors all reported double-digit U.S. sales gains for August as strong sales of pickup trucks and small cars led the industry toward its best month in six years.
Toyota posted the biggest gain, with sales up nearly 23 percent over August of last year. Nissan sales were up 22 percent, the best August in company history. At General Motors, sales were up almost 15 percent for the company’s best month since September of 2008. Chrysler and Ford each reported 12 percent gains.
It was Chrysler’s best August in six years, while August was Toyota’s best month in more than five years.
Chrysler's gains were led by the Ram Truck brand, which was up 29 percent from last year, and the Dodge Journey, which had its best sales month ever. Five other models set records for the month of August, including the Toledo-built Jeep Wrangler.
Chrysler said it sold 15,825 Wranglers last month, a 19 percent gain from last year. On the year, Wrangler sales are up 12 percent to 107,957. Also setting records for August were the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Dart, Jeep Compass, and Jeep Patriot.
Industry analysts say August could be the best sales month since May of 2007, when $3 a gallon gasoline set off panic buying of fuel-thrifty vehicles. LMC Automotive, an industry consulting firm, is predicting that total U.S. sales last month were close to 1.5 million, about 12 percent higher than a year ago.
Chrysler and GM are predicting that total U.S. sales in August ran at an annual rate above 16 million, a pace last seen before the Great Recession.