- General Motors, Ford and Chrysler turned in strong sales performances in July, with healthy pickup truck sales reflecting an overall improved economy.
- GM led the charge with a 16 percent sales gain, followed by 11 percent increases at Ford and Chrysler.
- "Truck sales are very strong, thanks to an improved economy and strengthened housing and construction industries," said Michelle Krebs, Edmunds senior analyst.
DETROIT — General Motors, Ford and Chrysler turned in strong sales performances in July, with healthy pickup truck sales reflecting an overall improved economy.
GM led the charge with a 16 percent sales gain, followed by 11 percent increases at Ford and Chrysler.
"Truck sales are very strong, thanks to an improved economy and strengthened housing and construction industries," said Michelle Krebs, Edmunds senior analyst. "In fact, the first half of this year — not typically a strong period for truck sales — has been unusually strong, which bodes well for the second half when truck sales really surge."
Krebs noted that the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of sales "promises to flirt with the magical 16 million mark again for July as it did in June."
General Motors said it delivered 234,071 vehicles in the U.S. in July.
"For GM, July was the most well-balanced month of the year from a retail standpoint," said Kurt McNeil, GM vice president of U.S. sales operations, in a statement. "Trucks were hot, but so were small cars and family vehicles."
Sales of GM's full-size pickups jumped 44 percent, with the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra representing 15 percent of the total.
Ford F-Series sales increased 23 percent, with 60,449 vehicles sold, and July sales put the Escape compact crossover on a pace to set a new annual sales record.
"Our small cars and hybrids continue to attract new customers to Ford," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a statement.
Chrysler reported U.S. sales of 140,102 units, the group's best July sales since 2006. Ram Truck brand's 31 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand in July.
"We continue to see strong retail sales, particularly with our pickup trucks and SUVs," said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Chrysler Group, in a statement.
Volkswagen of America lagged behind the domestic automakers, reporting 35,779 vehicles delivered in July, a 3.3 percent decrease over prior year sales.
"We continue to see a healthy demand for the Volkswagen brand, despite the fact that we are entering a period of consolidated growth as we phase out 2013 model-year vehicles," said Mark McNabb, Volkswagen of American chief operating officer, in a statement. "While we remain cautious in terms of the economic outlook, we are confident in the strength of our product offerings, particularly as we gear up for the 2014 model year introductions."
Toyota was short on specifics, saying it would release its U.S. July sales results later in the day on August 1.
"Solid industry sales in July point to a stable market indicating a recovering economy," said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, in a statement. "Consumer confidence also maintained elevated levels as evidenced by strong retail sales. For Toyota, we saw growth year-over-year, with total July sales up more than 16.5 percent."
Edmunds says: July is likely to be one of the best-performing months in years for the U.S. auto industry.