Top automakers pointed to a small boost in U.S. auto sales in August consisting another sharp increase in SUV sales, as low unemployment and strong consumer confidence assisted in mitigating the impact of increasing interest rates and fuel prices.
The reports from Ford Motor and other top automakers follow a boost in consumer confidence to a near 18-year high which allayed concerns about the impact of President Trump’s protectionist trade policy on sentiment.
Experts stated the results were roughly on track to meet Reuters-compiled consensus forecasts for the yearly pace of U.S. car and light truck sales of 16.8 million units for the month, compared to 16.6 million a year earlier.
Ford, the No.2 U.S. automaker, sold 218,504 vehicles in August, compared with 209,897 a year earlier, when Labor Day sales efforts were marred by the coming of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The rise consists a 20.1 percent increase in sales of sport utility vehicles whereas pickup truck sales increased 5.7 percent.
Ford’s head of US Marketing, Mark LaNeve, stated annualized seasonally adjusted U.S. car and light truck sales (SAAR) were from 17.0 million and 17.4 million in August, consisting medium and heavy trucks which typically make up around 300,000 units.
“The entire health of the consumer is very strong right now, which provides a solid base for our industry,” LaNeve stated.
“On an absolute basis, we estimate overall industry sales to be flat, but it could make it up as high as being up 1 percent while we’re still pulling in some of the numbers.”
U.S. auto sales fell 2 percent last year from a record 17.55 million in 2016 as consumers moved away from traditional passenger cars toward larger, more comfortable SUVs and pickup trucks, which are much more profitable for automakers.