U.S. auto sales were unexpectedly strong in August, led by Ford, Chrysler, and Nissan, the auto companies reported Wednesday.
Ford said that its sales were up 0.4 percent, while Chrysler said that it experienced a 20 percent gain. Nissan was up 11.5 percent. Analysts looked for gains of 11.8 percent for Chrysler and 2.8 percent for Nissan and a decline of 1.9 percent for Ford.
General Motors said that its August sales fell 1.2 percent, narrowly missing expectations.
Chrysler forecast a stronger-than-expected month for the industry, up 3 percent, compared to analysts’ estimates of a rise of only 0.1 percent.
Auto sales are an early indicator of consumer demand as the industry accounts for one-fifth of all U.S. retail spending.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected monthly industry sales of roughly 1.5 million new vehicles, and a seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate of 16.6 million. It would be the sixth straight month showing an annualized rate above 16 million, a level reached only twice in 2013.