GM's U.S. Auto Sales Down 20% in August

But sales were up 30% from July

Despite a popular government-funded incentive program, General Motors posted a 20% drop in U.S. sales in August, the company said on Sept. 1.

GM put a positive light on the figures, saying sales were "strong" and up 30% from July. It acknowledged that low-margin fleet sales were down significantly but said the comparison was with August 2008 which had been a "very strong sales performance.

"General Motors continued to rebuild sales momentum in August as dealers in the United States delivered 246,479 vehicles, far and away the company's highest total and retail sales performance of 2009," a statement said.

Sales for the year to date were down 35% at 1.4 million vehicles.

"We believe the program was a strong shot in the arm for the economy and that our four core brands - Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac - are well positioned with new products to take advantage of the ongoing recovery in the market," LaNeve said. "Our new vehicles are contributing to our stable share performance for the past five months -- running in the 20 percent range."

GM said its inventory levels were at an all-time low of 379,000 vehicles and announced plans to continue to steadily increase production.

The planned fourth quarter production of 655,000 units is 20% higher than plans for the third quarter of 2009 but nonetheless 20% lower than the fourth quarter of 2008.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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