WASHINGTON, D.C.: General Motors and Toyota saw rising new car sales in August, riding continued strong demand for SUVs and light trucks, while other automakers sagged at summer’s end, according to industry figures released Friday.
Fiat Chrysler and Nissan each saw double-digit declines compared to August of last year, while sales of Ford and Honda also fell.
After record 2016 sales and falling fuel prices, automakers have struggled to maintain momentum this year.
Overall US vehicle sales retreated 1.9 percent in August, according to figures from Autodata Corp. Cars sales fell 8.5 percent, offsetting the 2.4 percent gain in light trucks.
Automakers were expected to act aggressively to boost sales in the US Gulf Coast region, as it recovers from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
“Toyota simply beat the snot out of its competitors in August with the compact RAV4 sport utility selling a dazzling 43,000 units,” Autotrader executive analyst Michelle Krebs said in comments released by Cox Automotive.
“It appears Toyota took those sales from Honda, Ford and Nissan.”
GM reported a 7.5 percent increase over the same month of last year. Chevrolet’s crossover Traverse model soared 83 percent, and the Equinox gained 67 percent, while the Silverado LD crew cab pickup jumped 21 percent.
The company also boasted of rising sales for its all-electric Chevy Bolt EV hatchback, which GM said had its “strongest sales ever” in the month. Deliveries remained comparatively low, however, at 2,052 cars.
Toyota sold 6.8 percent more vehicles, largely due to a 28 percent jump in SUVs, and a 21 percent rise in trucks. However, the popular Camry sedan also saw year-on-year gains of 12.7 percent.
But amid falling gasoline sales, the Prius hybrid suffered 26.4 percent decline.
Italian-American auto giant Fiat Chrysler reported an 11 percent decline in US sales, led by falling fleet sales, part of what the company called a planned reduction in volume.