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From fuel-efficient subcompact cars to full-size pickup trucks, the auto industry reported across-the-board sales increases Tuesday during the month of August. The sales not only indicates strength in the economy, but is creating additional badly needed manufacturing jobs.

Automakers reported sales of 1.3 million vehicles last month, a year-over-year gain of 20 percent and a pace that translates to selling 14.52 million units in 2012. That would surpass last year's sales figures by approximately 2 million units and place the industry on track for its best year since 2007, the year before the nation plunged into recession.

Experts are touting the better-than-expected sales figures as a sign of a strengthening American economy, particularly for the moribund housing market. Demand for full-size pickups rose by 16 percent and accounted for a larger portion of overall U.S. vehicle sales. August can often be a robust month as dealers are motivated to clear out the previous model year vehicles from their lots to make room for the new models that begin arriving in September.

Pickups are considered a barometer of the housing industry because construction crews routinely require larger vehicles for hauling equipment and supplies. Sales of new homes rose 3.6 percent in July, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Ford reported a 19.3 percent increase in sales of its F-series pickups. Chrysler's sales of its Ram ticked up by 18.7 percent year over year, and General Motors said sales of the Chevrolet Silverado inched ahead by 4 percent. The Toyota Tundra saw sales rise 68 percent.

"Businesses don't usually go buy a fleet of trucks unless they have good reason to believe that business will be ramping up," said Jesse Toprak, vice president of auto-pricing service TrueCar.com.

Gas-conscious shoppers drove demand in vehicles both large and small.

Within Ford's popular F-150 pickup lineup, vehicles with V-6 engines now represent 54 percent of the model's sales compared with 46 percent for the once-sacrosanct V-8. In July, the EcoBoost V-6 engines accounted for 43 percent of all F-150 sales.

"As fuel prices rose again in August, we saw growing numbers of people gravitate toward our fuel-efficient vehicles – cars, utilities and trucks," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "Customers increasingly value savings at the pump."

Smaller vehicles, such as the Chevy Volt, were also a hit with consumers as gas prices rose again in August. The hybrid recorded its best month of sales ever, notching 2,831 sales. Sales of the Ford Focus rose 35 percent year over year.

Ford reported overall sales gains of 13 percent for the month, while Chrysler boosted sales by 14 percent. General Motors sales rose more than 10 percent year over year. Foreign automakers fared even better.

Continuing a fast recovery from the aftermath of last year's tsunami and nuclear accident, Japanese automakers posted whopping gains. Toyota reported a year-over-year sales increase of 45 percent and Honda said sales jumped 59 percent. But neither could claim the title of best turnaround. That went to Volkswagen – the German automaker increased sales by 62 percent compared to the same period last year.

The industry's recovery has meant more jobs at automotive plants throughout the country. Among the highlights:

Ford has added a third shift at its Louisville Assembly Plant to hasten production of its Escape crossover vehicle after sales rose 37 percent in August. In addition, the Dearborn, Mich.-based carmaker said it would build 725,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 7 percent increase over its 2011 figures.

The all-new Dodge Dart sedan sold 3,045 units in August, and Chrysler has ramped up production of the vehicle at its Belvidere, Ill. Assembly plant. Hyundai has added a third shift at its Montgomery, Ala. Assembly plant to boost production of its Sonata and Elantra offerings, a move that added 800 workers.


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  • 137 Comments
      LL
      • 2 Years Ago
      We were hit with a $500 insurance increase for my wife's Honda. Both of us have a perfect driving record with no claims ever. Shocked by this increase I went online to get some quotes for her car. The two sites I first visited were actually more expensive than our new rate, but then I found ( http://tinyurl.com/BestInsuranceQuotes ) I got a quote within minutes and ended up saving over $300 on our car insurance!
      KEN
      • 2 Years Ago
      People love their large vehicles, but want higher gas millage along with power....and that is why Ford trucks with the EcoBoost V-6's are in high demand.
      Judy Lynn
      • 2 Years Ago
      I sure am Glad that it was at the U.S. taxpayers expense than at China's. We bailed the Banks out that stole peoples life savings, retirements, and Real Property and I don't hear anyone speaking ill of the Banks that brought this Country down to it's knees, I will be glad when this circus is over.
        hmatadi
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Judy Lynn
        They only did what the Dems allowed them to do with their 'everybody gets a house' legislation. Who can blame them for selling off the mortgages that they new were worthless.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another thing Gm could do is repair your faulty 4l60e transmissions they are junk and you leave the consumers eating the cost time after time to fix them..
      tmoschetti
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh, and Chevy Volt is selling so well that production has been HALTED!
        danwat1234
        • 2 Years Ago
        @tmoschetti
        It has been "paused" from September 17th to October 15th. It's just to match supply with demand. The number of Volts selling per month is steadily increasing. Don't blame GM, tell battery manufactures to make cheaper, more energy dense batteries. It'll happen in time.
        ezrydr1970
        • 2 Years Ago
        @tmoschetti
        Actually a nice vehicle, but they are way too expensive even with special credits. When the technology advances and the cost of the power cells falls, they will be more reasonably priced and popular
      DR. MARK REPAIRS
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just about all american car company's are building there cars in CHINA that being said SO MUCH FOR QUAIITY! Cheap labor awrfull wokers who coulnd't care less and a comunist country. NO CHINA CRAP FOR ME!
        dxl504
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DR. MARK REPAIRS
        Do even have a clue or just guess? Ford motor company brought back jobs from Mexico. Yes they didn't take the bailout because they were a smaller company and had room to make some financial moves but all the big 3 now sell cars in other countries and are doing qutie well. Toyota builds cars here as well then sells them. So we of course should not to the same and level the playing field. The bottom line is when you buy a Toyota build here the money goes back to Japan. When you but a Gm in China the money comes back to the U.S. take an economics class. The big 3 are doing so well they are hiring. in AMERICA and starting wages are $19,00 and hour
        rkeeeballs
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DR. MARK REPAIRS
        Listen up !...China doesn't let US auto producers in, unless they build cars there with a partnership including chinese business manufactures. The vehicles built ,stay in China.....Their market !
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rkeeeballs
          Why don't we build them here and export them to China?
          xfk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rkeeeballs
          Gee we sould do the same to them !
        jay917
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DR. MARK REPAIRS
        When your incentive for work is do as I say or I will take you out back and beat you with a stick, THEN FIRE YOU it makes work a little difficult with shakey hands..
      Andy Gomez
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would have loved to buy an American car but American automakers have been out of touch with what Americans want. We want cars with 30-40+ mpg and very low carbon emissions. The market demanded this for the past years and American car companies still made 20mpg cars. Not smart. I am happy to see though that they are starting to innovate towards higher mpg.
        danwat1234
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andy Gomez
        2013 Ford Fusion hybrid, C-max hybrid. Chevy Cruze, Sonic. Ford Fiesta
      • 2 Years Ago
      As someone who lives in a state (OH) that has a large number of Auto manufacturing jobs, I would have to agree that there is definitely positive turn around in the industry. We are adding another plant and looking at thousands of new jobs. At least with manufacturing, you are actually making a product worth some value unlike the banking industry where you are trading paper money. When someone gets rich off of that it means that hundreds of other lost.
        John
        • 2 Years Ago
        Maybe they can finally re-open that plant in Janesville, Wis.
        baldbiker2
        • 2 Years Ago
        Cool, but Kia, Nissan, and Hyundai are blowing and going in the South. Open 1 plant? The Asians are hiring like no tomorrow down hewre. American auto makers in Ohio? good luck.....
      nerak2822
      • 2 Years Ago
      How many Billions does GM still owe us? How much control did Obama give to the UAW?
        johnk01000
        • 2 Years Ago
        @nerak2822
        The answer to both questions... TOO MUCH!
        stevendy1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @nerak2822
        GM owes $ 0 dollars to the gov.,,the gov agreed to take its share in stock --22 million shares, and hold till it wants to sell.. the unions ,again, have 0 control..stop looking for info on bathroom walls and such--it is all available quite openly if you LOOK for it. you just HAVE to be a moronic repub- taliban with your head up your azzes.. pity..
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ford up 18%. Toyota up 68%? Buy American you damn fools. And don't tell me that the Toyotas are made here. I keep seeing new Hondas on my street. No! Buy American. Vacation in America. Get an Education in America. (This should especially appeal to the teachers among you.) Eat local food. C'mon people. Unite for the sake of your own home.
      Jay Dubuque
      • 2 Years Ago
      I bet you the no union auto makers are smiling ,you don't need the unions stealing your money and pay dues its your money that they want? If no union want to have contract just have in house comitte both sides write out a contract that those so called union dues and put in profit sharing
      KATHI AND JOHN
      • 2 Years Ago
      wow FIRST good news 60 days before election.mmmmmmmmm WAKE up obana supporters ,just more lies and changeing of the numbers to make the little o look good
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