Automakers ride wave of truck sales, near post-recession record

Car sales rise for all the major automakers, with Honda leading the way. Truck sales continue strong, which could lead to a 16 million unit sales for 2013.

Rebecca Cook/Reuters/File
Newly assembled Ford F150 pick-up trucks sit in a holding area before being transported to dealerships outside the Ford Rouge Center in Dearborn, Mich., last year. Automakers sold 15.7 million cars and light trucks in July, with trucks leading the way.

Detroit may be bankrupt, but Detroit’s automakers are on a roll.

General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler all announced double-digit year-over-year increases in sales for July. So did Honda, Toyota, and Nissan as the auto industry looks to achieve its best year in sales since 2007.

In July, the industry sold cars and light trucks at an annual rate of 15.7 million, slightly down from June’s figures. But industry analysts suggest that strong sales in the fall could push the industry to the 16 million mark – a post-recession high.

The reason for the optimism? Trucks.

With sales already running strong during the first six months of the year, trucks notched another big month in July. That suggests the momentum will continue into the fall.

GM, for example, saw sales of its GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado climb 46 percent from a year ago. Overall, GM sales grew 16 percent.

Sales of Ford’s F-Series pickup climbed 23 percent for the month, helping the automaker notch an 11 percent increase overall.

Chrysler saw a similar rise: a 31 percent boost in Ram pickup sales and an 11 percent rise overall.

Among the Japanese automakers, cars and SUVs led the sales parade. Honda did the best of the three major manufacturers, with a 21 percent sales rise in July powered by its CR-V and Pilot SUVs. Toyota saw a 17 percent rise, led by the Prius and Camry, while Nissan climbed 11 percent on the back of its Altima and new Pathfinder SUV.

Smaller Subaru followed a strong June with a whopping 43 percent boost in July on the strength of sales of its Forester SUV.

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