The August sales numbers have begun rolling in, and the three domestic automakers have all posted surprisingly robust results. While many analysts expected the Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Company and General Motors to have a rough go last month in the face of increasing momentum for the imports, and especially those from Japan, the Big Three responded with double-digit gains across the board: The Chrysler Group reported a 14 percent sales jump in its best August since 2007, Ford saw sales improve by 13 percent on record volumes from both the Ford Escape and Ford Fusion, and GM—led by new benchmarks from the Chevy Volt and three other small Chevrolet products—walked off with a 10 percent leap in deliveries.
All divisions were once again in the black for the Chrysler Group, which totaled 148,472 deliveries—a 14 percent growth rate—in its 29th consecutive month of expanding sales. Particularly notable in August were the performances of the company’s small cars, as the FIAT 500 grew its volume by 25 percent (on 4,668 deliveries) and the Dodge Dart scored 3,228 new customers in its first full month on the market. Dodge also benefited by record performances from the Dodge Charger (5,419 sales, +30 percent), Dodge Avenger (7,973 sales, +26 percent) and Dodge Journey (7,922 sales, +58 percent). That first pair won their segments in the Autobytel/AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Awards last month, too.
Another Dodge worth recognizing for an all-star August is the Dodge Grand Caravan. Sales were up 35 percent for the popular minivan, and its 16,428 deliveries will almost certainly put it on the month’s top-20 list when all is said and done—that total would have left the Grand Caravan in the 16th position on the July scoreboard, with no other minivan making the list yet this year.
Other Chrysler Group sales highlights from August:
- Chrysler 300—4,668 sales, +65 percent
- Chrysler 200—11,997 sales, +10 percent and a new August record
- Chrysler Town & Country—11,405 sales, +30 percent
- Ram pickup—25,215 sales, +19 percent
- Jeep Wrangler—13,293 sales, +3 percent and a new August record
“Our Iron Man streak continued last month as we posted our 29th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth,” said Reid Bigland, president and CEO of the Dodge Brand and head of U.S. Sales for the Chrysler Group. “Our hard work over the past few years is starting to pay some dividends in our sales growth, quality awards and profitability. Not to mention, an incredibly resilient U.S. new vehicle sales industry doesn’t hurt either.”
August Sales: All-new Ford Escape Sets All-new Record
The Ford Motor Company delivered 197,249 units in August, representing a 12.6 percent gain in overall sales and, more importantly, a 19 percent increase on the retail side. The big story for the Blue Oval last month was no doubt the brand-new 2013 Ford Escape, with the high-tech, high-efficiency crossover reaping 28,188 sales that accounted for a 36.8 percent improvement and an all-time August record for volume. The Ford Fusion continued its record-setting ways as well: Even as the completely redesigned model edges ever closer to the marketplace, the current Fusion has now garnered six straight monthly volume records, culminating in 21,690 August sales—up 21 percent.
Interestingly, the Ford F-150 also had its highest volume month of the year. The best-selling vehicle in America sold a further 58,201 units in August and picked up a 19.3 percent sales gain.
There were even some noticeable signs of life from the automaker’s lux division: Although sales of the Lincoln MKS cratered in August, falling 32 percent on a mere 1,019 deliveries, the Lincoln MKZ, Lincoln MKT, and Lincoln MKX all boasted gains of more than 27 percent.
Additional FoMoCo sales stars from August:
- Ford Focus—19,073 sales, +35.3 percent
- Ford Mustang—6,387 sales, +11.7 percent
- Ford Edge—11,603 sales, +23.3 percent
- Ford Explorer—13,168 sales, +33 percent
“As fuel prices rose again during August, we saw growing numbers of people gravitate toward our fuel-efficient vehicles – cars, utilities and trucks,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Customers increasingly value savings at the pump, and Ford is answering the call with a full family of vehicles with leading fuel efficiency and the power to choose which vehicle best meets their needs.”
August Sales: Chevy Volt Marks All-time Monthly Record
The General was in its accustomed place at the top of the food chain in August in terms of volume, as a strong appetite for high-efficiency small cars from Chevy enabled a 10.1 percent sales boost on 240,520 units delivered. GM also reported an 11 percent improvement on the retail side of the business and called out August as its best retail month of 2012.
And while all four divisions did grow sales last month, Chevrolet stands from the crowd with four all-time monthly record breakers: The Chevy Cruze reeled in 25,975 August sales, marking a 19.1 percent gain; the Chevy Sonic was good for 8,703 deliveries in its first full August at dealerships; the Chevy Spark ignited 2,630 sales during its first August in the U.S.; and the Chevy Volt achieved an electrifying 2,831 deliveries, for a 837.4 percent jump over the same month last year. Also on the record-breaking roster was the Chevy Equinox. Posting its best August ever, the Equinox was responsible for 20,231 sales in the past month, moving ahead of last August's performance by 21.8 percent.
All told, it was a gold-medal performance that got some effective help from Chevy’s Olympic advertising support.
“The single message Chevrolet communicated this summer was ‘confidence’ and it rang true with customers when they saw how our product lineup is being transformed,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations. “All four of our brands are building momentum behind new products, so we’re very well positioned as the economy continues to slowly improve.”
GM’s sales figures also benefitted from positive results from:
- Buick Verano—5,200 sales in its first full August
- Cadillac SRX—5,203 sales, +12.4 percent
- Cadillac XTS—2,158 sales in its first August
- Chevrolet Corvette—1,210 sales, +29.3 percent
- GMC Acadia—8,148 sales, +25.5 percent
- GMC Terrain—9,143 sales, +16.1