AUGUST SALES: U.S. new car and truck sales rose 20 percent last month to 1.3 million. Big pickup sales drove the increase. With U.S. home construction starting to recover, contractors are buying more trucks to haul equipment and crews to sites.
BIG WINNERS: Sales of the Chrysler RAM pickup and Ford F-150 surged 19 percent over August of 2011. Sales of GM's Chevy Silverado rose 4 percent, while the GMC Sierra was up 9 percent. Toyota's struggling big truck, the Tundra, posted a 68 percent increase.
WHAT'S NEXT: Some analysts expect truck sales to grow faster than the rest of the U.S. auto market for the remainder of 2012, aided by autumn promotions and customers wanting four-wheel-drive vehicles for the winter.