July Auto Sales Continue Blistering Pace as Ford, GM, Chrysler Gain

Detroit (TheStreet) -- U.S. auto sales continued to set a blistering pace in July, as Chrysler (FIATY) sales rose 20%. Ford (F) said sales gained 10% and GM (GM) sales gained 9%.

Chrysler had its best July since 2005, Ford had its best July since 2006 and GM had its best July since 2007. Chrysler said it internally projects the seasonally adjusted annual rate for U.S. light vehicle sales to be 16.8 million units, while GM projects the SAAR at 16.7 million. Nissan (NSANY) sales gained 11%.

GM said it delivered 256,160 vehicles in July. Retail sales gained 4%. Sales of crossovers and trucks, which include pickups, vans and SUVs, surged by double-digits.

"Sales of utility vehicles soared in July because American families feel better about the economy than they have in a long time, and they are finding an incredible variety of redesigned and all-new models in our showrooms," said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations, in a prepared statement.

"Small, compact, medium, large -- sales were strong across the board," he said.

"GM and the U.S. economy left July carrying good momentum," McNeil said. "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."

Ford sold 212,236 vehicles, with retail sales up 7%. "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, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a prepared statement.

Ford Fusion set an all-time monthly sales record with 23,942 cars sold, a gain of 17% from the same month a year earlier. Western region sales gained 24%.

Ford Explorer sales gained 32% with 16,797 vehicles sold, the vehicle's best July since 2005. Ford Escape sales rose 19%, Escape's best July ever. Ford F-Series sales are rose 5% to 63,240 units. Ford said the gain was "achieved with the lowest incentives of the three largest pickup truck manufacturers."

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