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Late Surge of 19.5% Boosts Auto Sales for August

September 04, 1993| From Associated Press

DETROIT — Auto makers said Friday that sales of domestically built cars and trucks surged 19.5% in late August even though dealers ran out of many popular models.

The figure boosted overall sales for the month, including imports, 8.7% from a year ago.

Auto sales continued to outperform sales of clothing and other discretionary items in August because many people who kept their cars during the recession finally decided to trade for new wheels.

Low interest rates, high trade-in values and leasing programs featuring low monthly payments kept showrooms busy despite many customers' fears about their jobs and the economy, analysts said.

Some analysts speculated that low inventories of current-model light trucks, sport utility vehicles and minivans will continue to hurt sales after selling rates in early August were the worst since late February.

Despite the year-to-year percentage gain, the annualized selling rate for cars in late August dipped from mid-August's 7 million to 6.7 million cars. But compared to late August last year, the rate was up more than 700,000 units.

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