DETROIT: Struggling automaking giant General Motors reported a welcome 4% rise in vehicle sales last month as discount schemes lured US drivers to dealer lots.

GM sold 363,521 cars and other light vehicles in August, the first increase in seven months, and compares with 349,806 units sold in August 2005.

However, the company has warned that the end of 2006 will be tough, and it predicts its fourth quarter sales to fall around 12%.

Its beleaguered rival, Ford Motor Company, could draw no cheer from its August figures as it posted its seventh consecutive decline in US monthly sales, sliding a further 11%.

The data underscores the pressure on the number two auto maker as it readies an accelerated turnaround plan driven by a collapse in the market for trucks and SUVs while gasoline prices continue to climb.

The restructure also involves its UK luxury sports car marque, Aston Martin, over which it has hung the 'for sale' sign [WAMN: 0-1-Sept-06].

Meanwhile, DaimlerChrysler, the owner of both the Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz brands, saw its US passenger car sales fall 3.2% last month.

The best performer in the American market was Japanese giant Toyota Motor which notched up a 17% increase in US sales in August.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff