The Honda Accord topped the Toyota Camry to become the nation's best-selling car in August. The Accord's sales surged 32.5 percent and signaled a return by shoppers to the tried-and-true family schleppers — midsize sedans — as kids headed back to school. Shoppers flocked toward popular models like the Accord, Ford Fusion (up 19.5 percent) and Hyundai Sonata (up 24.7 percent) as family-sedan nameplates gained 9.5 percent in overall sales. The Accord, in particular, had a few more incentives than a year ago, which is rare for Honda, and shoppers responded. It put the Accord above the Camry in monthly sales for the first time since December 2013.
With sales from the largest seven automakers up 5.1 percent, industry projections suggest a sales pace not seen since mid-2006. Shoppers chose Chrysler (up 19.8 percent) and Nissan (up 11.5 percent) more than other automakers. GM, whose sales fell 1.2 percent on slow Buick and Cadillac sales, was the only automaker to see a drop. Whether this can be blamed on the automaker's recall crisis is hard to say, given GM has seen a sales uptick through much of the year.
A surge in new-home construction helped to send shoppers toward full-size pickup trucks, which gained 7.7 percent; the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram pickup saw double-digit gains. Some of those sales likely came from an increase in inventory for all three trucks, and slightly higher incentives on the Ram drove some of its prodigious increase. Ford's best-selling F-Series had more inventory and incentives as the automaker looked to sell off the remaining 2014s, ahead of the F-150's 2015 redesign, but anticipation of the forthcoming truck may have kept shoppers at bay. F-Series sales fell 4.2 percent in August.
Consumer confidence seems to be in a growth mode, increasing for its fourth consecutive month. Car shoppers saw a steady, if slight, uptick in incentives. With new cars taking longer to sell in August than a year ago and overall new-car inventory up versus a year ago, automakers and dealers may have felt that they had to grease the skids a bit more, specifically, with an average $568 more grease per car. That's how much dealer and automaker incentives increased between August 2013 and last month, according to data from CNW Research. Those incentives lowered the average new-car transaction price to $32,404 (down $245 year over year), continuing a trend that began early this year.
Here are August's top 10 best-selling cars: