Channel NewsAsia

US auto sales rise in July as trucks, SUVs lead

Major automakers Friday (August 1) reported another month of strong US sales in July, with many of the biggest gains coming in trucks and sport utility vehicles.

NEW YORK: Major automakers Friday (August 1) reported another month of strong US sales in July, with many of the biggest gains coming in trucks and sport utility vehicles. General Motors sold 256,160 vehicles in July, an increase of nine per cent from the year-ago level. Large non-luxury SUVs and crossover vehicles both scored huge increases.

"GM and the US economy left July carrying good momentum," said Kurt McNeil, US vice president of sales operations. "The economy has bounced back strongly from the harsh winter, consumer confidence has reached a post-recession high, energy prices remain moderate and job growth continues."

The July tally underscored that shoppers continue to favour GM's products, even as the biggest US automaker faces continued criticism over its handling of an ignition-switch defect linked to 13 deaths.

Ford Motor scored a 10 per cent rise in July auto sales to 212,236. The strongest gains came in the SUV category, where sales rose 17.1 per cent from last year's level. Sales of Ford trucks meanwhile increased 6.6 per cent.

"July proved to be a very good month for Ford and Lincoln with positive gains across the board in all the major segments," said John Felice, a Ford vice president in US sales.

Chrysler, a unit of Italian company Fiat Chrysler, said July sales rose 20 per cent to 167,667, with Jeep and Ram truck brands garnering the largest percentage sales gains. Toyota sales totalled 215,802, up 7.3 per cent from a year ago. Sales of the company's Lexus luxury SUVs rose 23 per cent, but smaller cars like the Camry and Corolla also scored double-digit gains.

Jessica Caldwell, an analyst at online car-shopping site Edmunds.com, said sales of trucks and SUVs are expected to outnumber cars for the 11th straight month, the "longest such streak since the heyday of SUVs" in the mid-2000s. The trend underscores in part the rise of the compact crossover SUV, which has "better fuel economy than many people might expect out of an SUV," she said.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia