CHICAGO U.S. sales by the top seven automakers totaled nearly 1.13 million vehicles in July, up 13.6 percent from 991,570 in the same month last year but down 6.8 percent from 1.21 million vehicles in June.
Torrance, Calif.-based American Honda Motor Co. Inc. was the biggest winner, with a 20.9-percent improvement in July sales compared with a year earlier. Sales of 115,009 vehicles by Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America pushed the South Korean brands above Nissan North America Inc. last month.
Detroits Big Three all recorded double-digit sales growth last month but still gave up about 0.2 percentage points of market share, while Japanese automakers increased market share by 1.1 percentage points from July last year. U.S.-based brands gained 1 percentage point of market share in the first seven months of this year, while the Japanese automakers lost a 0.1-percent share.
"For GM, July was the most well-balanced month of the year from a retail sales standpoint: trucks were hot, but so were small cars and family vehicles," Kurt McNeil, GM vice president for U.S. sales operations, said. "The difference between good sales and great sales in a slow-growth economy is how many new products you have to offer, and we are starting to hit our sweet spot."
Chrysler Group LLCs Ram pickup truck sales jumped 31 percent last month. "We continue to see strong retail sales, particularly with our pickup trucks and SUVs, and that has helped to propel Chrysler Group to our 40th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth," Reid Bigland, head of the automakers U.S. sales, said Aug. 1.
Ford Motor Co. had its best July sales total since 2006. "We saw continued strength and growth in our retail business," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. Fords small-car sales rose 32 percent and its F-series truck sales grew 23 percent.
U.S. sales of cars and light trucks by the top seven automakers have totaled nearly 7.87 million units this year, an 8.4-percent increase from 7.26 million in the first seven months of last year, according to an AMM analysis.