Automakers expect big sales in August on the U.S. market image

Analysts predict U.S. auto sales jumped as high as 14.4% over the same month in 2012 with strong demand for pickup trucks, plus consumer interest in small crossovers and SUVs and also compact cars.

Detroit’s Big Three are expected to benefit from hot pickup truck sales. Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. will report August sales figures later Wednesday. Each company is expected to post a sizable sales increase over August 2012.

Kelley Blue Book is expecting a sales boost of 13.6% in August, with sales to consumers representing 86% of sales. While the pickup segment continues to boom, thanks to a jump in new home construction across the United States, the car information provider says it doesn’t see demand waning.

“Most automakers are seeing double-digit sales increases compared to last year as retail sales remain a bright spot, even with more new models entering the market,” Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said in a statement. “Subaru continues to shine, estimated to be up 30 percent this month even with capacity constraints, and Honda once again has one of the strongest year-over-year growths. On the other hand, Ford could have been up double digits, but has been hampered with production issues from both the Escape and Fusion.”

In some cases, automakers such as Ford, Subaru and Hyundai Motor America could sell more vehicles if they had more on dealer lots, analysts say.
Also, consumer spending on new vehicles in August will near a record $36 billion, according to J.D. Power. Compact crossovers and full-size pickups are expected to continue to gain market share in August, while analysts say midsize car share will be down compared to a year ago.