August auto sales showed that buyers were in the mood to shop, even amid the recent volatility in the stock markets. Industry watchers were expecting a drop in U.S. sales for the month because of the later-than-usual Labor Day this year. The industry's biggest holiday weekend will count toward September's results. For the past three years, it's been part of August. But, that didn’t stop buyers. Industry-wide auto sales came in at an annual rate of about 17.81 million vehicles. Analysts were expecting sales to come in flat for a total of 17.3 million units. Steve Gefter, managing director of IDDS Group, said there were several factors helping dealers overcome the challenge of the Labor Day weekend exclusion. He pointed to the lower interest for retail sales, cheaper gas prices, as well as manufacturer discounts for the better than expected results. General Motors Co (GM) saw a smaller-than-expected decline in sales of less than 1-percent. Sales of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) rose almost 2-percent year over year. Toyota Motor Corp (TM) also reported a better than expected number, even with its 9-percent drop in sales compared to a year ago. And Ford Motor Co (F) sales gained nearly 5.6-percent. TheStreet's Kurumi Fukushima reports in New York.
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