The cash-for-clunkers program pushed Ford Motor Co.s U.S. light-vehicle sales to the companys second-straight year-over-year increase in August while lessening sales declines for Chrysler Group and General Motors Co., analysts say.
Fords August sales were expected to grow 34.4 percent, according to an average of five analysts predictions gathered by Automotive News.
That would be Ford's largest year-over-year monthly lift since October 2001. The company's 2.4 percent increase in July was its first in 19 months.
The analysts indicated Chryslers sales would fall 3.8 percent. That would be the smallest drop by Chrysler since its last monthly sales gain in December 2007.
GMs would drop 16.2 percent, they said, for the automakers slimmest decline since last September.
Despite improved performances, GM and Chrysler couldnt really make cash for clunkers work for them, said Michelle Krebs, an analyst for consumer auto site Edmunds.com, in a statement.
Chrysler and GM, both hurt by extended factory shutdowns during their Chapter 11 proceedings, had limited inventory to feed cash for clunkers, she said.
Automakers post August sales results Tuesday.
Eight analysts surveyed by Automotive News have predicted an average annual sales rate of 14.4 million units, the highest since April 2008. That compares with a 13.7 million rate in August 2008. If the average proves correct, U.S. light-vehicle sales would see their first year-over-year increase since October 2007.
Analysts also are predicting that monthly sales will pass 1 million units for the first time since August 2008.
Most analysts predictions adjust automakers declines for sales days, as this month had one less selling day than August 2008. Accounting for the difference improves gains and lessens sales drops. Automotive News does not adjust for selling days in reporting automakers monthly sales.
Most analysts release individual company forecasts for Detroit automakers only. But Edmunds.com predicted Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.s sales would fall 1 percent; Nissan North Americas, 18 percent; and American Honda Motor Co.s, 7 percent. It forecast that Hyundai-Kia Automotives sales would grow 63 percent. Those numbers are unadjusted for sales days.
And Credit Suisses Christopher Ceraso predicted a 30 percent increase for foreign brands, accounting for the difference in selling days.
Bloomberg News survey of 10 analysts forecast an average sales rate of 14.3 million units. According to the survey, GM saw August sales fall 16 percent from 2008 levels, and Chryslers sales slipped 5.5 percent. Ford sold 33 percent more light vehicles this month than in August 2008, the Bloomberg survey showed.
U.S. auto sales rates were languishing at 27-year lows until July. The introduction that month of the federal cash-for-clunkers program, which paid consumers up to $4,500 to trade in gas guzzlers for new vehicles with better fuel efficiency, pushed the July sales rate to 11.1 million. That was the first time demand had passed 9.9 million this year.