The party may be over, but the government's "Cash for Clunkers" program delivered, especially for imports, with Hyundai, Honda and Toyota cars reporting their best August sales to date and Ford posting sales that were 21% better than August last year for its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands.
Honda posted a 14.2% improvement in sales last month versus August 2008, a Honda record for the month, though year-to-date sales are down 24.8%.
Hyundai posted a 47% gain versus last August and a 33% hike over July. Hyundai also said the month was its eighth in a row of year-over-year retail share gains. John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, attributed the gains in part to Hyundai's "Assurance" vehicle return program and "Gas Lock" price protection.
Toyota Motor Sales saw sales rise 10.5% last month, with Toyota division passenger cars recording a best-ever month of 142,529 units delivered, up 32.4% over the same period last year, per the company. Toyota division sales were up 15.2%, but Lexus was down 18.8% versus the month last year.
Jim Lentz, president and COO for Toyota Motor Sales, said in a release that Toyota vehicles accounted for 19.4% of sales within the CARS program.
Ford posted record sales for Focus, Fusion, Escape, Edge and Flex. Sales of the Ranger mid-sized pickup jumped 57% last month, and sales of the F-Series full-sized pickups were up 13%.
Ford said it has now gained retail market share in 10 of the last 11 months. The Dearborn, Mich. automaker sold about 2,355 of the 2010 Taurus vehicle last month. The company said sales were double what it had expected for the car, which went on sale in July.
Chrysler Group said U.S. sales increased 5% in August versus the month before and that 17 out of 26 nameplates posted year-over-year and/or month-over-month retail sales increases, including five out of six Jeep nameplates. Overall sales were down 15% versus the month last year, however.
Steven Beahm, VP of sales operations at Chrysler, said the company's large car, minivan, crossover and truck segments all posted increases last month. The company says it will offer 0% financing for up to 72 months through GMAC Financial Services or up to $4,500 "Consumer Cash" on select 2009 model-year Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles.
General Motors' U.S. deliveries of 246,479 vehicles last month was its best performance this year, although sales were down 20% versus the month last year. General Motors says it will extend its relationship with eBay Motors that lets California consumers shop new cars, crossovers and trucks. The deal will now run through September at gm.ebay.com.