August Car Sales Offer a Pleasant Summer Surprise for the Auto Industry, Forecasts

August Car Sales Offer a Pleasant Summer Surprise for the Auto Industry, Forecasts

August Car Sales Offer a Pleasant Summer Surprise for the Auto Industry, Forecasts

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — August 30, 2012 —, the premier resource for automotive information, forecasts that 1,287,603 new cars will be sold in August for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) this month of 14.5 million light vehicles. If the numbers hold, August will be the second best month of 2012 in terms of SAAR and the third best month in terms of unit sales.

"Sales showed signs of flattening out in the first couple months of summer, so August's sales figures will come as a nice surprise for everyone in the auto industry," says Senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. "Automakers and dealers have been very creative in packaging hidden incentives in recent weeks and when you combine that with the selldown of popular 2012 model year vehicles, there have been some nice deals available to car buyers."

Earlier this month, Vice Chairman Jeremy Anwyl shed more light on these "hidden incentives" — which include stair-step programs and one-day demo sales — in a commentary posted to's Industry Center at

Sales Volume August-12 Forecast August-11 July-12 Change from August 2011* Change from July 2012
GM 232,527 218,479 201,237 6.4% 15.5%
Ford 191,918 174,804 173,482 9.8% 10.6%
Toyota 183,562 129,482 164,898 41.8% 11.3%
Chrysler 145,355 130,119 126,089 11.7% 15.3%
Honda 132,537 82,321 116,944 61.0% 13.3%
Nissan 103,071 91,541 98,341 12.6% 4.8%
Industry 1,287,603 1,071,783 1,153,242 20.1% 11.7%
*NOTE: August 2012 had 27 selling days; August 2011 had 26 estimates that August's projected sales will be an 11.7 percent increase from July 2012, and a 20.1 percent increase (unadjusted for number of selling days) from August 2011. Retail SAAR will come in at 12.0 million vehicles in August, with fleet transactions accounting for 17.0 percent of total sales. An estimated 3.1 million used cars will be sold in August, for a SAAR of 36.9 million (compared to 3.2 million — or a SAAR of 36.3 million — used car sales in July).

AUTOMAKER PERFORMANCE projects that the top automakers will see little shift in market share in August. GM is expected to have the most growth (+0.6 percentage points) from July to August, while Nissan will slide the most (-0.5 percentage points).

Market Share August 12 Forecast August-11 July-12 Change from August 2011 (Percentage pts.) Change from July 2012 (Percentage pts.)
GM 18.1% 20.4% 17.4% -2.3% 0.6%
Ford 14.9% 16.3% 15.0% -1.4% -0.1%
Toyota 14.3% 12.1% 14.3% 2.2% 0.0%
Chrysler 11.3% 12.1% 10.9% -0.9% 0.4%
Honda 10.3% 7.7% 10.1% 2.6% 0.2%
Nissan 8.0% 8.5% 8.5% -0.5% -0.5%

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