U.S. sales in August topped 148,000 units at Chrysler, the company’s highest total in five years, the carmaker reported today. Sales of the company’s light trucks came in at more than 25,000, up 19% over August of 2011. Total sales were 14% higher than last August.
The sales report — the first from an automaker reporting August sales — indicates that U.S. consumers are putting aside concerns about the economy and continuing to purchase new cars a steady pace. Industry analysts expect total August sales to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14.2 to 14.5 million new vehicles sold, making August the second-best month so far this year.
U.S. auto sales have been better than expected so far this year, given the overall weakness in the country’s economy. Analysts and carmakers put that down to pent-up demand and easier credit terms.
Automakers Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) are expected to report August sales later today. Analysts expect a 16% to 20% increase in sales compared with last year’s August totals.