U.S. auto sales dropped to their weakest rate since February as most automakers posted sharp declines from a year earlier, when the U.S. cash-for-clunkers program fueled demand for new vehicles.
August’s seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 10.8 million units fell from 11.6 million in July and was well below analysts’ forecasts, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Bloomberg News and Autodata Corp. separately pegged the August SAAR at about 11.5 million units.
After August sales tumbled 21 percent, industry sales are now up just 8 percent from 2009 levels, when demand hit a 27-year low.
“The car market and the overall economy are pretty weak,” said Joe Phillippi, principal of consulting firm AutoTrends in Short Hills, N.J. “Showroom traffic is down. We still have issues on the margin with some people not being able to get credit, and people are nervous.”
Courtesy of Automotive News — September 1, 2010 – 11:02 am ET
UPDATED: 9/1/10 5:54 p.m. ET