Sales of cars, light trucks and SUVs in the United States remain high amid signs the public has no intent of cutting back on purchases, good news for fleets that haul everything from raw materials to components to delivering new cars to dealers.

New figures show overall sales increased 17% in August compared to the month before, to an annual rate of 16.1 million vehicles. That's the best month since October 2008, before the worst of the U.S. economic recession.

General Motors reported overall sales rose 15% in August compared to a year ago, its best month since September 2008. All four of its brands reported double-digit increases, with sales of Cadillac doing the best since 1989.

Ford saw a gain of 12% from a year earlier and its best month for sales since August 2006. Chrysler reported a similar hike, with all its vehicles setting sales records last month.

Most foreign auto makes also reported strong sales increases, led by Toyota and Nissan, each reporting a 22% gain and their best August performances ever.

In contrast Volkswagen saw its sales drop 1.6% in August, following a 3.3% drop in July.

Across the border in Canada sales this year are expected to set a record, with August sales increasing 6.5% from the same time a year ago.

The news of increased auto sales in August led shares of Ford and GM to rise to their highest level of the year on Wednesday.