In August, Auto Imports Beat the Heat

August sales were strong for Japanese and Korean makers, as well as Mercedes, but BMW and Mini dipped 11% over last year

Last month, auto sales in the U.S. weakened unexpectedly as economic pressures weighed down on consumers. Dealers in the U.S. sold a total of 1,487,393 units in August, with International nameplate automakers responsible for 47.7 percent of the market. Year-to-date sales are down more than 4 percent, with International nameplate automaker market share at 45.8 percent.

Toyota continues to pick up market share, solidifying itself as the nation’s third best-selling automaker behind GM and Ford. In August, Toyota group sales rose12.6 percent to 240,178 units. Meanwhile, DaimlerChrysler, who has long held the No.3 spot, posted sales of 199,767 units, including both Chrysler results as well as record breaking sales from its luxury Mercedes-Benz brand, who jumped 6.9 percent over August 2005.

Toyota Sales Rise in August; Scion, Lexus Cars Score Record Month

Toyota group sales rose 12.6 percent in August to 240,178 units from 205,362 units in August 2005. Year-to-date sales now total 1,705,546 units in 2006, up 11percent over the same period last year. Underscoring a rising trend among International automakers, sales of Toyota’s North American-built vehicles accounted for 48.9 percent of total August sales.

Toyota division posted monthly sales of 209,104 units, up 13.6 percent from last year, led by passenger cars, which reached sales of 125,768 in August, up 14.7 percent over the same period of last year. Passenger car sales were led by the Corolla, which posted best-ever August sales of 34,971, an increase of 7.4 percent over August 2005. Camry models (hybrid and gas) continued to perform well, with sales up 1.9 percent in August. The Prius gas-electric hybrid mid-size sedan posted best-ever August sales of 11,177, an increase of 9.3 percent. The all-new Yaris subcompact contributed with sales totaling 11,392 units for the month.

Toyota division light truck sales rose 12 percent, with a best-ever August total of 83,336 units. The RAV4 compact SUV led the charge with all-time best-ever monthly sales of 14,363, up 87.4 percent over the same period last year. The all-new FJ Cruiser, which went on sale in March, reported sales of 6,259 units. The Highlander Hybrid gas-electric mid-size SUV reported sales of 2,581 units for the month.

Scion reported all-time best-ever monthly sales with 19,252 units. The tC sports coupe recorded a sales increase of 18.5 percent to 9,185 units; Scion xB sales were up 35.1 percent, posting monthly sales of 6,956 units; and xA sales rose 6.8 percent to 3,111 units.

Lexus passenger cars, led by the all-new ES 350, reported monthly sales of 18,376 units, up 21 percent over the August 2005. The ES 350 luxury sedan scored best-ever August sales of 7,973 units, up 4.5 percent. The IS luxury sport sedans reported all-time best-ever sales of 5,553 units, a 710.2 percent increase over last August.

Honda Trucks Break Record

Total Honda division sales were down 6.5 percent for the month to 132,990 units, while year-to-date sales are up 7.5 percent to 911,517.

Honda division light truck sales rose 11.4 percent for August and set an all-time record with sales of 63,731 units. Odyssey sales broke the all-time record with 18,773 units, up 11.6 percent over last August. The Pilot and CR-V also set records with August sales of 19,100 and 16,321 units, respectively.

Car sales fell by 17.6 percent to 81,868 from 95,722 in August 2005.

Total Acura sales for the month reached 18,263 units, down 8.5 percent. Acura trucks’ steady sales pace continued in August with record sales of 5,654 units. The MDX posted 4,293 units in August, bringing its year-to-date total to 33,377. Meanwhile, in just its first month in showrooms, the RDX recorded 1,361 units sold. The TSX sports sedan continued its momentum in 2006 with sales of 3,330 units. Year-to-date TSX sales reached 26,955 – up more than eight percent compared to the same period last year.

The TL performance luxury sedan continued to be Acura’s top-selling model, with 6,339 units sold in August.

Nissan Car Sales Shift into Gear in August; Infiniti Sales Drop

Sales of Nissan cars rose 4.8 percent in August, but were not enough to help overall sales for the automaker. Nissan division sales declined 3.2 percent from August 2005; Infiniti division sales dropped a whopping 26.4 percent; and overall Nissan group sales dropped 6.3 percent for the month. Without adjusting the selling days for the month, the Nissan Division had its best August ever in volume.

The Murano had its best August ever with sales of 6,440 units, and the new Versa subcompact, in its second month in showrooms, delivered strong sales of 3,832 units.

Mercedes Announces Best August Sales in History

This August, Mercedes-Benz reported its highest August on record with sales of 20,602 new vehicles, an increase of 6.9 percent over last year. M-B’s year-to-date sales are up 13.3 percent over the same period last year for a total of 157,128 units.

Mercedes-Benz’ flagship S-Class was a catalyst for the automaker, with sales rising an incredible 105.9 percent over August 2005. The SLK-Class roadster also performed well, registering a 7.5 percent increase over last August.

M-B’s luxury light truck segment – M-Class, R-Class, GL-Class and G-Class – continues to gain, with a combined 66.2 percent increase over last August.

BMW, MINI Year-to-Date Sales Rise

Year-to-date sales for BMW group vehicles (BMW and MINI) are on the rise in 2006, up 3 percent to 206,530 units sold. For August, total sales for BMW and MINI declined 11 percent compared to August 2005.

BMW brand sales dropped 12 percent in August to 22,421 units; for the year, the brand’s sales have risen 5 percent. Car sales dropped in August from 17,254 units to 17,053 units. BMW Sports Activity Vehicle sales also dropped for the month – a steep 35 percent from August 2005 sales.

MINI’s August 2006 sales declined 11 percent to 3,252 units. Year-to-date MINI sales have dropped 8 percent to 26,806 units.

Volkswagen, Audi Sales Up

Volkswagen AG said August sales rose 1.5 percent to 23,420 units compared to 23,083 for August 2005.

August sales for Audi reached 7,115 units, an increase of 3 percent compared to last year. Year-to-date sales for the German luxury brand are at 54,575 units, an increase of 5.4 percent over the same period a year ago, and an annual record pace for the brand. The all-new Audi Q7 performance SUV was the highlight for Audi last month, posting sales of 777 units.

Porsche on Record Pace

Porsche sales fell 14.1 percent last month to 2,397 units. Year-to-date sales; however, show the automaker on a record pace with 24,200 units sold in the U.S. so far in 2006 – an increase of 12 percent over last year. For the year, sales of Porsche’s 911 sportscar are up 27 percent; Boxster/Cayman series sales rose 24 percent for the month and are up 40 percent for the year.

Hyundai on Record Pace

Hyundai continued its record pace in 2006, selling 44,635 units in August and setting a new all-time record for the month. The new Sonata is still posting gains with total sales reaching 13,184 in August, a 32 percent increase over last August. The all-new 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe is off to a strong start and helped total Santa Fe sales increase 25 percent over the same month last year.

Kia Has Record Month

August sales for Kia reached 25,114 units, up 5.4 percent from August 2005. Year-to-date sales for automaker now total 198,121 units, a 2.7 percent increase over the record-setting sales pace in 2005.

The Sorenta mid-size SUV posted record sales for the month with 5,713 units. The Spectra also had a strong month, posting sales of 7,665 units.

Jaguar Down

Jaguar sales fell 35.3 percent overall, with all models dropping about 45 percent from August 2005 with the exception of the new XK, which was up 106.8 percent.

Land Rover Sluggish

Land Rover sales declined 19.4 percent, with lags seen across the lineup.

Volvo’s C70 Takes Off

While Volvo’s sales dropped 2.1 percent in August to 10,606 units, a star was born with the C70 – up an outstanding 1,314 percent. The S60 and XC90 continued to perform well, both with 15 percent gains for the month.

Mazda Relatively Flat

Mazda came out pretty even in August, with total sales up 0.8 percent. The MX-5 Miata was the bright spot for the automaker, up 60 percent in August with help from high temperatures across the nation.


Subaru’s August sales increased 2 percent from last year to 17,809 total units. The Impreza jumped a dramatic 47 percent in August to 4,504 units, while total sales for the brand are up three percent year-to-date from the previous year.

Legacy and Outback sales were strong in August, posting 7,444 units and 5,434 units, respectively. Sales of the Tribeca mid-sized SUV reached 1,377 units in August. Subaru Forester recorded 4,002 units, while Baja posted 482 units for the month.

Suzuki Jumps Higher in August

Suzuki’s sales jumped 16.4 percent in August compared to August 2005, amid surging demand for the automaker’s Grand Vitara SUV. Sales of the Grand Vitara went from 346 units in August 2005 to 2,136 units in August 2006. Year-to-date, Suzuki’s auto sales are up 30.2 percent over the same period last year.

Mitsi Still Moving Ahead

Mitsubishi’s August sales reached 10,954 units, an increase of 0.1 over August 2005 and the sixth consecutive month the automaker’s sales surpassed 10,000 units. August marked the fourth month in the last five that Mitsi has surpassed the sales of the same month a year ago.

The Eclipse was the volume leader up 27.6 percent from August 2005 to 2,966 units; the Lancer posted sales of 1,797 units, up 34.3 percent from last year; and sales of the Eclipse Spyder rose 145.4 percent from last year, reaching 773 units.

Saab Has Stellar August

Saab sold 3,157 vehicles in August, up 18 percent over last year. Saab 9-3 sales rose 39 percent.

Maserati on Fire

In August, Maserati North America sold 120 GranSport and GranSport Spyder models, representing a 47 percent increase over August 2005 sales. Year-to-date sales for Maserati are up by more than 100 units from the same period last year.

  August Sales Data from

International Nameplate Automakers

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