DETROIT (AP) – With summer incentive programs including 0 percent financing continuing to draw buyers into showrooms, automakers say that U.S. vehicle sales rose 18 percent last month compared with August 2001.
Total sales were about 1.7 million vehicles, the automakers reported yesterday.
The Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler AG saw sales rise 28.1 percent, while General Motors Corp. reported a 22.6 percent increase and Ford Motor Co.’s sales rose 12.2 percent.
“The incentives are still what’s driving it,” said Walter McManus, executive director for forecasting with marketing firm J.D. Power and Associates.
Strong sales were seen among the major automakers, who have been locked in a yearlong incentive battle. Ahead of its sales report, GM – the first of the major automakers to offer 0 percent financing after Sept. 11 – announced its latest round of incentives.
“They’re going to have to keep the incentives going,” McManus said. “They’re all going to have to launch the 2003 (models) now with incentives. We don’t see an end in incentives because people are expecting them.”
Asian and European automakers also saw improvements, showing gains of 17 percent and 2 percent, respectively, over August 2001.
GM’s car sales rose 11.9 percent, while light truck sales – including pickups, sport utility vehicles, vans and minivans – showed a 32.1 percent gain.

Paul Wong
LAURIE BRESCOLL/Daily
University Health Services Gynecology Clinic Coordinator Pam Bledsoe counsels a female patient on birth control options.

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