Automakers struggled through another disappointing month in August, as weak housing and other economic data discouraged consumers from making big purchases.
Auto sales tumbled from prior-year levels, as expected. Compared with August 2009, when the government’s “cash for clunkers” program fueled a surge in demand, last month’s sales were down 21 percent.
But the selling pace also slowed from the previous month, slipping to 11.47 million cars and light trucks, on an annual basis, from 11.54 million in July.
The selling rate last August was 14.17 million vehicles, with cars accounting for 57.6 percent, according to Autodata Corp.
This August, as gas prices held steady in a sluggish economy, light truck sales accounted for 49.7 percent of the total, up from 42.4 percent a year ago.
Chrysler Group LLC, Hyundai Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. fared best in a difficult market.
Chrysler was the only major automaker to report a sales increase last month, a jump of 6.9 percent, because automaker hardly benefited from the “cash for clunkers” program last summer.