Ford saw its August sales rise sharply from a year earlier as consumers flocked to dealerships to take advantage of the Cash for Clunkers program. Chrysler and General Motors didn't fare as well, according to figures released Monday.

FordÍs August sales rose 17.2% from a year ago. Chrysler sales fell 15%, and GM sales were down 20%.

FordÍs jump was attributed to Cash for Clunkers, the taxpayer funded program which offered up to $4,500 toward new, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks. The hefty rebates gave auto makers and dealers a much-needed lift, spurring 690,114 new sales, many of them during August, at a cost to taxpayers of $2.88 billion.

The program ended Aug. 24.

Also aided by the government program were Hyundai, the South Korean carmaker, which said its sales jumped 47% last month to a record-high. Honda said sales rose 10%, while ToyotaÍs rose 6 percent.

Analysts said the August numbers are encouraging, but that the U.S. auto industry still has a long road ahead to recovery.

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