Consumer spending, Economy

Low interest rates, improved consumer confidence drive car sales in August

Car SaleCar sales increased by 16.1 million in August, up from 15.8 million in July, as a result of lower interest rates and improved consumer confidence.

“Year-over-year gains remained in the double digits as improving consumer confidence, pent-up demand, low interest rates, a recovering housing market and improvements in the labor market have all helped drive the increase in vehicle sales,” Curt Long, a senior economist at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, said.

Over the past year, sales have increased 11 percent. Car sales rose from 7.9 million annualized units in July to eight million annualized units in August. Sales of light trucks increased 7.9 million annualized units in July to 8.1 million in August.

The six largest automakers reported year-over-year sales increases. Honda reported the biggest sales gain at 26.7 percent, followed by Toyota at 22.8 percent, Nissan at 22.3 percent, General Motors at 14.7 percent, Ford at 12 percent and Chrysler at 11.5 percent.

The U.S. brand share of total vehicles fell from 45.6 percent in July to 43.9 percent in August, while the share of domestically  assembled vehicles fell from 78.9 percent to 77.8 percent.

“Vehicle sales are helping to sustain a wider economic recovery,” Long said.

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