The recovery of the auto industry in the U.S. continues with July sales being the best in seven years, up 14% from last year. Every domestic and foreign based automakers had increased year to year sales, with double digit gains at six companies. Leading the pack were Honda, Toyota and General Motors, with sales up 21, 17 and 16 percent respectively. Ford, Chrysler and Nissan each were up 11%. Subaru, whose North American sales helped parent Fuji Heavy Industries to record earnings, had the best year to year performance, up 43%.
The seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate, SAAR, was just below analysts’ forecast at 15.7 million cars and light trucks. The strong July sales are expected to help total U.S. sales in 2013 to be the best since 2007′s 16.1 million units, analysts forecast 15.5. For the year through July, U.S. sales are up 8% industry wide.
In the actual sales race, the top five were led by GM with 234,071 units sold. Toyota was next with 193,394, just 314 units ahead of Ford. Honda was in fourth place at 141,439, with Chrysler close behind at 140,102.
As the housing and construction industries recover and the shale energy boom continues, pickup sales, Detroit’s bread and butter, have allowed the domestic brands to gain market share. GM’s sales of full size pickups were up 44%. All four brands at GM were up by double digits, with Cadillac and Chevrolet up 17% from 2012, Chevy’s best monthly year to year gain in over a year.
F-series pickups at Ford weren’t up as much as GM’s pickups, 23%, but they still outsold the Silverado and Sierra slightly with 60,449 units sold. Overall, Ford deliveries were up 12% while Ford’s luxury Lincoln volume slid 1%.
Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti, was also off, though by a much larger percentage, 33% but that was more than offset by a 17% increase in deliveries at the larger volume Nissan brand.
Chrysler deliveries were up for the 40th straight month, paced by strong Ram pickup sales. All Chrysler brands were up, including Fiat at 2%, except for the Chrysler brand itself, down 4% for the month. Jeep sales are down 4% for the year so far, due to the discontinuation of the Liberty and the slowed introduction of its Cherokee replacement.
Hyundai had a record July with 66,005 units sold and Mazda had it’s best gain in a year and a half, up 29% from 2012, on very strong sales of the CX-5 and CX-9 light trucks and an 18% increase in car sales.
Subaru also had strong sales for July, putting the company within reach of 400K units for the year and keeping it ahead of VW for the month, which was down 3%. VW did have some good news, with the brand’s heavily promoted TDI diesel engines having a big increase in take rate, up to almost 30% across the brand and nearly 40% for the Passat. Strong sales of the Q5 and Q7 SUVs paced sales at VW’s Audi brand, which were up 12%.
|Automaker||July 2013||July 2012||Pct. chng.||7 month
|Ford Motor Co.||193,080||173,482||11%||1,482,816||1,313,865||13%|
|Jaguar Land Rover||5,663||4,331||31%||36,445||31,828||15%|
|Volvo Cars NA||5,909||5,717||3%||38,487||40,333||–5%|
Chart: Automotive News.