FILE – In this Aug. 13, 2013 file photo, Scott Garberding, senior vice president of manufacturing for Chrysler Group LLC stands between a 1992 Grand Cherokee, right, and the automaker’s 5,000,000th vehicle produced at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. Chrysler’s U.S. sales rose 12 percent in August as strong truck sales pushed the company to its best month in six years. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
DETROIT (AP) — For the U.S. auto industry, the recession is now clearly in the rear-view mirror.
New car sales jumped 17 percent to 1.5 million in August, their highest level in more than six years. Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Honda, Chrysler and General Motors all posted double-digit gains over last August.
The full-year sales pace rose above 16 million for the first time since November 2007, the month before the Great Recession officially started. Exuberant automakers said sales will likely remain at that pace for the rest of this year.
“I think it’s here to stay,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist.
U.S. car and truck sales totaled 16 million in 2007, then plummeted during the recession. They bottomed out at 10.4 million in 2009 and have been rising ever since. In August, they seemed to pick up speed. Mohatarem said he expects the year to end with sales closer to 15.8 million vehicles, which is higher than GM’s official forecast of 15.5 million.
August’s strong sales surprised analysts. Alec Gutierrez, an analyst with Kelley Blue Book, said sales unexpectedly spiked over Login to read more