The 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 is introduced at the New York International Auto Show in April (image credit Stan Honda/AFP/Getty)
Detroit (written by Fred Meier/USA Today) -- Chrysler reported U.S. sales up 14% in August vs. a year ago -- driven by a 19% increase for its Ram pickups.
The Fiat-owned company sold 148,472 vehicles in the month, more than 25,000 of them pickups. It was the best August for Ram since 2007.
The company just refreshed its Ram 1500 flagship pickup with upgrades and a new V-6 and 8-speed transmission combination that raised fuel mileage by 25%.
Dodge was the volume leader with more than 47,000 vehicles sold, up 13% and the best August since 2005. The Avenger and Challenger had their best August and the Journey crossover had its best month ever. The Grand Caravan minivan was up 35%.
The new 2013 Dodge Dart compact, ramping up production now in its third month out, had sales of 3,045.
The Fiat brand, still getting established with the 500, was up 34% from a year ago to 4,150 sold.
Chrysler brand was up 25%, also the best August since 2007, and the big 300 sedan was up 65%, while the Town & Country minivan was up 30%.
Jeep brand sales rose just 5%, but it was the best August for the brand since 2003 on strong Wrangler and Grand Cherokee results.
Ahead of today's sales reports, analysts have predicted a strong month, up 15% to 20% from last August, with an annual sales rate for the month north of 14 million.