auto.salesAutomakers posted Tuesday strong US auto sales in August, with sport utility vehicles and pickups continuing to see robust demand amid low gasoline prices and an improving jobs market.

General Motors, the largest US automaker, said it sold 270,480 vehicles last month, a gain of 6.0 percent from August 2014.

“GM’s retail sales increase far outpaced the industry in August, and we have grown our retail share for five months in a row compared to last year,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s US vice president of Sales Operations, in a statement.

“All of the economic fundamentals that we look at, including job growth, disposable income and fuel prices, are in good shape and that should keep sales strong,” he said.

GM said it had adjusted the month’s sales for the shifting Labor Day holiday, which left this year’s August period with 26 selling days, compared with 27 for last year. In unadjusted numbers, GM’s August sales fell 0.7 percent.

Ford Motor said it had its best August US sales in nine years. The number-two US automaker said it sold 234,237 vehicles, a 5.0 percent increase year-on year.

Sales of F-Series pickup trucks jumped 5.0 percent to 71,332 units, the best monthly result since 2006. The company is stepping up production of its new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup, its most popular vehicle which accounts for almost half its earnings.

Italian automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’s US unit, FCA US, said it had its best August sales in the United States since 2002 at 201,672 vehicles, an increase of 2.0 percent from a year ago. The results were driven higher by an 18 percent jump in its Jeep brand.

Japanese auto giant Toyota reported US sales tumbled 8.8 percent to 224,381 units, noting the skewed calendar with one less selling day this year. On an adjusted basis, sales fell 5.3 percent.

Sales of Toyota’s signature gasoline-electric hybrid Prius dived 24.2 percent as low gasoline prices at the pump continued to boost demand for bigger gas-guzzlers.

Mid-sized pickup Tacoma and Highlander SUVs had their strongest monthly increase since 2003. Sales of the luxury Lexus brand rose 2.1 percent to 33,487 units in August, its best month ever. 

Honda said its US August sales fell 6.9 percent to 155,491 vehicles,

“The shorter sales month versus last year obscures the continued strong sales momentum of core Honda models,” said Jeff Conrad, Honda Division senior vice president and general manager.

“We’re working hard to keep up with the strong demand for our trucks, while our sedans continue to set the bar for retail sales.” – Agence France-Presse

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