US auto market remains bright spot as China pulls back

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DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. auto market is continuing on pace for its best performance in more than a decade -- even as the market in China recoils.

China is still the top market, but sales there are slowing as the economy cools. At the same time, U.S. sales are on pace to top 17 million this year for the first time in 2001.

The trend is reflected in the August sales figures released today by Sweden's Volvo. The company's U.S. sales jumped 18.3 percent in August, and they rose 6.5 percent in Europe. But sales in China plunged 10 percent.

All of the major automakers released U.S. sales figures today. Total sales fell less than one percent. And the decline came primarily because sales for a late-arriving Labor Day weekend will be included in September figures. Last year, the holiday was counted as part of August sales.

Increasingly confident U.S. consumers are being lured to dealerships by low interest rates, low gas prices and enticing new small SUVs like the Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V.

For August, Ford reported a 5-percent gain as sales of its new F-150 gained steam. Fiat Chrysler sales rose 2 percent thanks to strong demand for Jeep SUVs. Hyundai's sales were up 3 percent, boosted by its new Santa Fe SUV.

General Motors' U.S. sales were flat last month. It saw strong demand for the Chevrolet Silverado pickup but Cadillac sales declined.

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APPHOTO NYBZ116: FILE - This Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 photo shows a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 4WD LTZ Crew Cab pickup truck at Miami Lakes AutoMall in Miami Lakes, Fla. GM saw double-digit U.S. sales increases in August 2015 for the Chevrolet Silverado pickup and Buick SUVs, but Cadillac sales were down. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) (1 Oct 2014)

<<APPHOTO NYBZ116 (10/01/14)££

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