U.S. auto sales boom; Hyundai, Ford gain groundDETROIT/PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. auto sales boomed in August as $3 billion in government incentives drove sharp gains for Hyundai Motor Co and Ford Motor Co but failed to provide a boost for General Motors Co in its first full month outside bankruptcy.
Ford reported a 17 percent jump in monthly sales on Tuesday and the success of the U.S. government's "cash for clunkers" trade-in incentives pushed overall industry sales to the first year-on-year increase in 21 months.
Korea's Hyundai posted a 47 percent increase as sales of its Elantra sedan more than doubled.
The U.S. government incentive program also helped Honda post a 10 percent sales gain while Toyota Motor Corp sales were up 6 percent.
The two U.S. automakers to have emerged from government-sponsored bankruptcies -- GM and Chrysler -- lost market share during the August sales bonanza.
GM sales dropped 20 percent, while Chrysler was off 15 percent. Nissan Motor Co sales fell almost 3 percent from record levels of a year earlier.
Meanwhile, auto sales rose in France and Italy and stabilized in Spain on the success of similar government-backed sales incentives, data released on Tuesday showed.
The now-exhausted U.S. "clunkers" program, which was inspired by the programs in France and other European markets, drove a rush into dealerships in July and August.
More than 690,000 vehicles were scrapped in the United States for taxpayer-funded credits of up to $4,500 as consumers took advantage to drop gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs.
On an annualized basis, industry-wide U.S. sales topped 14 million units, according to Autodata.
That was up from 13.6 million a year earlier but still far below the 16 million range that had been seen as the bottom for the market until 2007.
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