North American production for August and September will be close to last year’s pace with only slight shortfalls, Ward’s forecast.

September builds will be less than August due to fewer production days, 23 in August and only 19 in September.

August is expected to see a total output of 1,461,170 units, just 0.2% behind last year’s 1,464,517. But September will trail slightly more with a 1.7% shortage over year-ago, for an estimated final output of 1,262,282 vehicles compared with 1,283,970 in like-2006.

Ward’s forecasts passenger-car production in September will fall 14.1% behind year-ago, while light-truck output will increase 12.4%.

General Motors Corp. is forecast to produce 7.8% fewer vehicles in September than year-ago, with a projected build of 356,428 units. Car production will be down 25% from prior-year across all nameplates.

Although most light trucks will see reduced output, steady production of the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook cross/utility vehicles will compensate for the shortage and drive a 7.0% overall increase on the truck side.

Ford Motor Co. is forecast to build 218,970 vehicles in September, trailing year-ago 12.2%. However, light-truck output will see a 17.0% upswing due to output of two new CUVs, the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, which were not in production last year.

Ford’s car output will fall dramatically, primarily due to reduced production of the Ford Fusion and Focus, both of which had robust builds in like-2006.

Chrysler LLC is the only domestic auto maker that will exceed last year’s output, pumping out a whopping 25.1% more vehicles in September, compared with year-ago, to a total 214,941 units. History has been amended to reflect Chrysler production minus DaimlerChrysler AG vehicles.

Chrysler’s hefty output is due to several factors. The Dodge Avenger and Jeep Patriot did not exist in like-2006 and have been added without eliminating other vehicles.

Additionally, continued demand for hot-selling vehicles, such as the Jeep Wrangler, necessitates robust production, plus the auto maker soon will be launching its next-generation minivans, the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country.

Also, Chrysler last September had an unusually low output of Dodge Ram pickups, so this period’s more normal build will help push output ahead of year-ago.

Toyota Motor Mfg. North America Inc. is forecast to increase production over last year, albeit fewer cars and more trucks. Output for the Toyota Tundra pickup is expected to drive a 9.7% increase that will compensate for the cutback in car builds.

Nissan North America Inc. will be the only auto maker among the Top-Six to buck the trend and increase car output over truck builds, according to the Ward’s forecast.

Calendar-year production through September is forecast to reach 11,758,795 units, a 3.0% shortfall compared with year-ago.