By almost any measure, August spelled recovery for U.S. auto sales. Dig in for these nuggets:
- Those 1,501,294 total sales -- the highest unit count in 75 months.
- That seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate of 16.1 million -- the best since November 2007.
- The 17 percent increase from a year earlier -- the biggest since August of 2012.
- All six Japanese automakers boosted sales between 22 and 45 percent.
- And sales of Detroit 3 large pickups soared 22 percent, leading all three automakers to double-digit gains.
"August capped a solid summer for the industry," Bill Fay, Toyota brand general manager said in a conference call. "While we've seen fluctuations in some economic indicators, one thing has remained consistent: the overall strength of the U.S. auto industry."
Not only have automakers sold more light vehicles in the first eight months this year (10.6 million) than in all of 2009 (10.4 million), but last month's 1.5 million sales topped the unit volume of every August since -- get this -- 2003.
"It was a pretty darn good August," said Larry Dominique, president of ALG Inc., the lease-residual forecasting arm of TrueCar.com, who also noted high levels of retail sales industrywide and rising transaction prices for all but Toyota and Hyundai-Kia.
Among major players, the only automakers without a double-digit August sales increase were Volkswagen Group of America, up 4 percent, and Hyundai-Kia America, 6 percent higher. Both comparisons were to strong year-ago volume.
Clean sweep for Detroit brands. Every Detroit 3 brand recorded higher sales in August, the first time in 12 months that all 11 domestic divisions rose in unison. Ford's Lincoln and Chrysler's Fiat eked out a 1 percent increase. General Motors' Cadillac led all domestic brands with a 38 percent gain, with Buick close behind at 37 percent.
Toyota outsells Ford, again. For the second month in a row, Toyota Motor Sales outsold Ford Motor for the No. 2 U.S. spot behind GM. This time Toyota won by 11,133 units. In July, the margin was a razor-thin 314 units to give Toyota its first monthly win since March 2010.
But through the first eight months, Ford is almost 170,000 units ahead, 1,703,220 to 1,533,722.
And Honda tops Chrysler, too. Also for the second straight month, American Honda outsold Chrysler Group and captured the No. 4 position behind GM, Toyota and Ford. Honda's margin was 880 light vehicles in August and 1,337 in July.
But year to date, Chrysler leads Honda by 160,000 units.