Westlake Village, California – One million new vehicles are expected to be sold in the U.S. in August, boosted by the government-funded “Cash for Clunkers” program, according to J.D. Power and Associates. It will be the first time sales exceed one million units in the last 12 months.

Based on the first 13 selling days of the month, retail sales for August are expected to come in at slightly more than one million units, up nearly two per cent from one year ago. This marks the first increase in retail sales volume since June 2007.

“Improved consumer confidence and credit availability during the past six months have combined with the CARS program to lift industry sales out of their slumping year-to-date levels, which have been down approximately 35 per cent year over year,” said Gary Dilts, senior vice-president of global automotive operations. “These factors set the foundation for a gradual recovery in the months ahead. Reduced inventories will likely hold back some of this momentum, but the automakers are moving quickly to ramp up production and rebuild stock.”

As inventory is channeled to retail sales, August fleet sales are expected to decline by more than 50 per cent compared with one year ago. Total light-vehicle sales, including retail and fleet, are projected to come in at 1.1 million units, down only eight per cent from August 2008.

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