New-car sales surged ahead in July, with nearly all of the six largest carmakers represented in the US reporting double-digit gains over last summer.
Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Chrysler posted sales increases of 10 percent or more, with GM gaining by 9.4 percent. Toyota's total sales actually paced ahead of Ford for the month, thanks to the strength of the RAV4 and Corolla and more incentives on its best-selling Camry sedan.
Cruising through summer
Sales forecasts for the year are rising as a result of the strong summer numbers. Analysts at J.D. Power and LMC Automotive predicted July sales will reach a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 16.6 million vehicles, down slightly from June's 17.0 million-unit SAAR. That's fueling the spiral in total dollars spent on new cars.
“The combination of high transaction prices and strong retail-sales volume is expected to result in consumers spending more than $36 billion on new vehicles in July," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. "That would be the highest for the month of July since 2005 and an increase of $3 billion from July 2013.”
Also, LMC has adjusted its annual SAAR forecast to 16.3 million units for the year, the second upward revision this year--and possibly not the last.
“Further upward momentum in light-vehicles sales remains a strong possibility if the remainder of the year keeps pace with recent months and the expected improvement level in the overall economy is realized,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.
With automakers still reporting some numbers, these are the sales figures issued so far by automakers for the month of July 2014:
General Motors: GM [NYSE:GM] says it sold 256,160 vehicles in July, up 9.4 percent on the year-ago period.
- Chevrolet was up 7.7 percent to 175,155 vehicles.
- GMC was rose 22.2 percent to 48,081 units, and all nameplates saw their sales rise.
- Cadillac was down 2.6 percent, falling to 15,241 units.
- Buick was up 7.9 percent, to 17,683 units, for its best July since 2006.
- Camaro sales were up 25 percent, while Corvette sales tripled. Sales of the Chevy Volt were up 13 percent.
Toyota / Lexus / Scion: Toyota reported preliminary sales numbers of 215,802 units in July, up 11.6 percent from the same period a year ago--putting it slightly ahead of Ford.
Ford: Ford Motor Co. [NYSE:F] sold 212,236 units in July, posting a 10-percent gain over the year-ago period. Lincoln accounted for 7,863 units, up 14 percent, with 204,373 Ford sales representing a gain of 9.4 percent. F-150 sales were up 4.6 percent; the new Expedition boosted sales 59.3 percent in July for that nameplate, and Explorer sales rose 31.8 percent. Sales of the Lincoln MKZ were off 1.2 percent.
Chrysler: Chrysler says it sold 167,667 units in July, up 20 percent over the year prior, for Chrysler's best July since 2005.
Honda / Acura: American Honda Motor Co. [NYSE:HMC] sold 135,908 vehicles in July. Honda-branded vehicles accounted for 123,428 units, with Acura garnering the remaining 12,480 units. Honda was off 2.3 percent, with Acura down 17.6 percent.
Nissan / Infiniti: Nissan Motor Company [NASDAQ:NSANY] says it sold 121,452 units in July, a gain of 11.4 percent, and a new record for the month of July. Nissan Division accounted for 112,914 units, up 11.5 percent, while Infiniti was up 10 percent on the month to 8,538 vehicles. Nissan's electric Leaf hatchback sold 3,019 units, up 62 percent from the year-ago period, while the Altima checked in with 26,654 units.
Hyundai: The South Korean automaker reported preliminary June sales numbers via Twitter: "Best July sales ever at 67,011 units, up 1.52% YOY. Best all-time month for Sonata Hybrid. More details to come."
Kia: Kia reported sales of 52,309 units in July, a 6.7-percent increase over the same period last year.
Subaru: Subaru had its best sales month ever in the US It sold 45,714 vehicles, up 27 percent over July 2013, and broke a record it held since...March.
BMW / MINI: BMW says it sold 32,220 vehicles in July, a gain of 7.4 percent from the year-ago period. BMW tallied 26,409 sales, up 9.8 percent, while MINI was off 2.3 percent at 5,811 units.
Mercedes-Benz: Mercedes-Benz says it sold 30,757 units across its Mercedes-Benz, Sprinter and smart brands, up 16.4 percent from July 2013. Some 27,192 of those sales were for Mercedes-Benz vehicles, a gain of 15 percent. Sprinter tallied 13,697 units, and smart, 5,998 units.
Volkswagen: Volkswagen's sales of 30,553 units were off 14.6 percent from the year-ago period. Sales of its U.-built Passat sedan were off 13.8 percent.
Mazda: Mazda sales soared in July. The brand moved 29,238 vehicles, up 17.1 percent versus last year. On the year, sales are up 9.3 percent.
Audi: Audi sells 14,616 vehicles in July, up 11.9 percent; it's up 13.3 on the year, at 98,965 vehicles. Audi sold 2,164 A3s in July.
Mitsubishi: Mitsubishi sold 6,349 vehicles in July, for a 21.4-percent gain.
Volvo: Volvo says it sold 5,908 units in July, off 17.1 percent.
Jaguar / Land Rover: Jaguar Land Rover sold 5,830 vehicles in July. Jaguar sales of 1,187 units were off 26 percent from the year-ago period, while land Rover sold 4,643 vehicles, up 15 percent.
Porsche: Porsche sold 4,300 cars in July, up 12.6 percent over July 2013.
Maserati: Maserati sold 1,135 vehicles in July, up 315 percent over the same period in 2013.