U.S. auto sales improve in July over 2010 figures

Vroom vroom

U.S. automakers reported their July sales numbers on Tuesday. The big three are all seeing year-over-year sales increases, and executives are predicting that they should see a solid finish to 2011. GM's U.S. sales improved by 7.6% from the prior year to 214,915 vehicles in July, driven by strong demand for its fuel-efficient Chevrolet Cruze and its crossover and pickup offerings. The company is optimistic about sales in upcoming months, with head of U.S. sales Don Johnson commenting, “There are people who put off vehicle purchases because of uncertainty about fuel prices, vehicle availability and the economy. As these conditions improve in the latter half of this year, many of these buyers will return to the market.” Johnson did warn that he expects total industry sales to come in at the low end of the company’s previously forecast range of 13.0-13.5 million cars in 2011.

Chrysler’s Senior VP of Purchasing & Supplier Quality, Dan Knott, also believes that auto sales will be strong later this year, saying, “Our perspective is the market is still bullish. Fuel prices have not hit as strong as we thought.” Chrysler’s July sales increased by 20% to 112,026 vehicles sold, marking the 16th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. The company’s Jeep brand led the way, with sales increasing by 46% while sales of Chrysler branded vehicles increased by 5%.

Ford’s U.S. sales increased by 8.9%, helped by strong increases for the Fiesta, Escape and Explorer models. It sold 180,865 vehicles in July, 6.8% less than were sold in June. Sales of the Lincoln brand surged 40%, as the company continues to focus on bringing Lincoln back to prominence as a preferred luxury brand. A focus on fuel efficiency has also helped Ford’s results, with demand for the Fiesta, Focus and Fusion remaining strong from coast to coast.

Ford Motor (F: NYSE: US$11.85), Net Change: -0.50, % Change: -4.05%, Volume: 94,693,549
General Motors (GM: NYSE: US$27.05), Net Change: -1.02, % Change: -3.63%, Volume: 18,143,344

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