- The 2014 Jeep Cherokee, Toyota RAV4, Ford Fusion and Nissan Rogue were among the favorites of car shoppers as automakers reported August sales on Wednesday.
- GM said early response to the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup trucks "is off the charts."
- The future looks rosy for trucks and SUVs with gas prices at their lowest levels in four years, said Jessica Caldwell, an Edmunds senior analyst.
Buyers crowded showrooms, prompted by enticing Labor Day and clearance deals.
"The industry had its best August in over a decade with sales topping 1.5 million vehicles," said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, in a statement.
Fay reported a "record-shattering month for RAV4." Toyota sales increased 6.3 percent compared to August 2013.
"Not only did the (Chevrolet) Silverado and (GMC) Sierra have a solid August, but early response to our new midsize trucks is off the charts," wrote GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson in an e-mailed message. "Chevy dealers requested 28,000 Colorado orders in August, about seven times expectations. Canyon orders were way above expectation as well, at 14,000."
Production on the Colorado and Canyon began this week. The trucks will arrive at dealerships in the fall.
The future looks rosy for trucks and SUVs with gas prices at their lowest levels in four years, said Jessica Caldwell, an Edmunds senior analyst.
"Stable gas prices go a long way toward making trucks and SUVs more attractive to shoppers," Caldwell said. "And if history is any indication, shoppers can expect gas prices to fall even more through the end of the year.
"This is very fortunate timing for General Motors, which just recently rolled out new lineups of large SUVs such as Tahoe, Suburban and Yukon. Expect big months for these vehicles in the final quarter of 2014."
About 13 percent of all dealer loans were financed at zero percent APR in July and August, in another important trend noted by Caldwell.
"Low finance offers have proven to be a critical factor for the auto industry's success in recent months," she said. "With easy credit like this, shoppers who might otherwise consider a two-or three-year-old used car can see the value in buying new."
Automakers head toward year's end in an upbeat mood.
"We see a strong fall selling season ahead for GM and the industry," said Kurt McNeil, GM's U.S. vice president of sales operations, in a statement.
Edmunds says: Easy credit and low gas prices mean it's the right time to shop for that new car or truck.