Automakers Maintain Sales Despite Woes

U.S. auto sales were flat vs. last August, but that was better than the 12 percent decline in July. The annualized sales rate for August was 16.3 million vehicles. GM surprised the industry with a 6 percent increase in sales, led by a 16.6 percent increase in truck sales.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Today's business news begins with a surprising gain amidst sinking auto sales.

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MONTAGNE: Major automakers - not just Detroit, but Japan's Toyota as well -reported yesterday that sales in the U.S. are weakening.

At Ford, car sales plunged dramatically by more than a third last month.

But at General Motors, the news was different. GM bucks the downward trend, saying its sales actually rose 6 percent. Still, GM isn't immune from fears that consumers will delay buying new cars because of the housing downturn and high fuel prices. GM said yesterday it will slash its fourth quarter production by 10 percent.

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