Ford Sees Auto Sales Jump in August

File - Unsold 2009 Fusion sedans sit at a Ford dealership in the southeast Denver suburb of Centennial, Colo., in this Dec. 7, 2008 file photo. The 2009 Ford Fusion's bumper rating slipped to "poor" from "marginal" in 2007, with the average cost of repair reaching $2,207. Nolan said the car's weaker bumper beams had a big impact on performance. None of the six most-popular midsize sedans earned a top rating in bumper safety in the latest crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) AP Photo/David Zalubowski

A top Ford executive says Cash for Clunkers helped spur the first industrywide increase in auto sales in more than two years this month, the latest sign of recovery in the hobbled auto industry.

Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, says annualized industry sales may have hit 13 million in August. He says Ford has already surpassed August sales last year with a weekend still to go.

Automakers are scheduled to report monthly sales on Tuesday. The clunkers program is expected to offer a much-needed lift. Ford was among the program's top gainers, with its Focus compact car and Escape crossovers among the top new vehicles purchased in exchange for trade-ins.

The Transportation Department says the program at a cost of $2.88 billion.
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