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August Car Sales Point to Record-Setting Pace for 2016

SANTA MONICA, California — The U.S. auto industry is still on track to set an annual sales record in 2016 as car shoppers continue to flock to showrooms, according to the August sales forecast. predicts that 1,533,508 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in August, reflecting a 1.1 percent increase from July 2016, but a 2.5 percent decrease from August 2015. The estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate is pegged at 17.2 million.

"The summer isn't delivering explosive sales like we saw last year, but the industry is still on pace to set an annual sales record," said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis. "Automakers have done a good job this year of staying disciplined and managing their inventories. With volumes at record highs, they can focus even more attention on battles for market share."

Automakers are expected to report continued robust demand for trucks and SUVs in August, driven by cheap gasoline and Labor Day sales events.

Traditionally, automakers strive to clear out inventory at this time and make way for new model-year vehicles, and they hit the Labor Day holiday weekend hard with deals and incentives.

For example, Ford is offering zero-percent financing and cash back on several models, including the 2016 Ford Explorer and Ford Mustang, in a sales event that runs through September 6.

Car shoppers continued their love affair with trucks and SUVs, according to the July car sales report.

Popular vehicles included the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Transit, Honda CR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Edmunds says: Look for Labor Day deals to pop up in the coming days at your local dealerships as automakers get ready to close the books on August sales.

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