The VW brand led the way with a 63 percent jump, its 12th straight month of increases of at least 25 percent.
Honda Motor Co. reported August U.S. sales of 131,321 units, a gain of 60 percent from 2011, when it suffered from quake-related inventory shortages. Volume at the Honda brand jumped 58 percent to 115,675 units; Acura deliveries climbed 73 percent to 15,646 units.
Toyota also continued its recovery from an earthquake-hampered 2011 with a 46 percent rise.
Advances at General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group ranged from 10 percent to 14 percent.
Chrysler and GM today forecast the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for August will reach 14.6 million units — the highest since April 2008 and well above most analysts' estimates.
Chrysler sales chief Reid Bigland attributed the company's performance in part to an "incredibly resilient" climate for auto sales.
August sales at the VW brand surged to 41,011 as the automaker continued to benefit from redesigned models in key segments, notably small and mid-sized sedans.