By The Numbers: July Sizzles, Sales Fizzle

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Just as American automakers were trying to wean themselves off of fleet sales, just as The Big 2.8 were looking to reduce incentives and bounce back from a slow June, July. In July, practically every U.S. economic indicator took a downturn, from housing starts to the stock market. While American auto sales didn't plummet, they took a major hit. Even Toyota was not immune from the fallout; the numbers rolling in proving that ToMoCo's not invulnerable to a bad market. Damage report Spock.

Passenger Cars

After climbing steadily since October of last year, Chevrolet Impala sales sank back down to their pre-sales spurt level, 20 percent below where they were last year. Ford Fusion sales dropped 31 percent from last year. Thanks to robust sales earlier this year, it's still four percent higher year-to-date than last year. Sales of Chrysler's 300 decreased 15 percent for the month, 14 percent for the year. The Toyota Camry dropped about one percent from July 2006, but it's still up over eight percent year-to-date. None of these models are heavily discounted at the moment; if sales continue to fall, incentives are sure to rise.

Pickup Trucks

Chevrolet Silverado sales rose by about 2K units from June. Comparing July '07 to July ‘06, sales of GM's erstwhile turnaround tiger took a beating, down almost 30 percent. Year-to-date, they shrank by almost seven percent. Perpetually buoyed by incentives, sales of the Dodge Ram pickup fell 10 percent from last July, but less than one percent for the year. Ford isn't offering big incentives on the F-Series ; sales are down 18 percent from last year and 23 percent year-to-date.

Taking a page from their competitors' playbooks, Toyota continued and even increased incentives on the Tundra . It worked. Tundra sales were up a whopping 125 percent from July of last year and 56 percent year-to-date. Based on the first seven months' sales, Toyota will have no problem reaching their first-year sales goal of 200K new Tundras. Still, it'll be interesting to see if sales drop as they start backing off on the rebates.

Truck-based SUVs

As more drivers make the switch from gas-guzzling trucks to slightly less thirsty CUVs and cute utes, the market for traditional SUVs continues to evaporate. The Chevrolet Tahoe showed a slight increase (500 units) from June, but sales are running 12 percent below last July. Year-to-date, the Tahoe's down 16 percent.

The Ford Explorer is lost in the wilderness. Sales are down 30 percent month-to-month and 23 percent year-to-date. Ye Olde Dodge Durango took the biggest hit, with July's sales less than half of June's. The Durango took a 26 percent hit both from last July and overall year to date. Toyota 4Runner's sales were actually up a bit from June, but down 29 percent from last July and 21 percent for the year.


CUV sales were down– with one surprising exception. After dropping steadily since March, the Chevrolet Equinox enjoyed a 50 percent increase from June. Unfortunately, it's still nowhere near last year's sales levels, dropping 42 percent on the month and 29 percent on the year.

The Ford Escape didn't. It experienced a sharp drop from June's sales. Still sales remain slightly ahead of last year, up two percent for the month and three percent for the year. The Chrysler Pacifica didn't [sea] fare nearly as well. Sales were down from June, from July '06 (35 percent) and year-to-date (25 percent).

Although the redesigned Toyota RAV-4 's sales year-to-date are up 13 percent, they were down almost two percent from last July.

New Models

The brand new models weren't immune to the pressure drop. The Jeep Compass shed about 800 units from June, the GMC Acadia was down 1400 units, and the Ford Edge fell 3000 units. GM has yet to offer incentives on their Lambda CUVs. Ford and Chrysler have small rebates on the compass and Edge. Again, if sales don't pick up, deal sweeteners are a-comin'.

Total Sales

Total vehicle sales in the U.S. market were down in July. Not only were they reduced from June, they were also down from July of last year. Toyota showed a seven percent drop from last July, Chrysler Group dropped eight percent, Ford was down 19 percent and GM was off 22 percent. It's not quite as bad year-to-date. Ford is off 12 percent for the first seven months of the year, GM is down nine percent and Chrysler is only down two percent. Toyota is six percent ahead of last year.

The Future

Over the past few weeks, Chrysler has announced an extended warranty, GM ramped-up the rebates and Ford is offering low interest rates. It'll be interesting to see if any of this will help sales recover over the next few months, or if the downward spiral will continue.

Frank Williams
Frank Williams

More by Frank Williams

Join the conversation
2 of 16 comments
  • AuricTech AuricTech on Aug 08, 2007

    Meanwhile, Suzuki's US sales were down only one percent from July 2006. YTD sales for Suzuki are up one percent over last year.

  • MgoBLUE MgoBLUE on Aug 10, 2007

    Frank, Thanks for the insight. In regards to the "New Models" section, as an example, it would be helpful to add some context in that paragraph. "The Acadia was down 1400 units for the month." I found myself wondering, '1400 units off of how many? 3k/month? 6k? 12k? Just a suggestion. Thanks again.

  • ToolGuy Personally I have no idea what anyone in this video is talking about, perhaps someone can explain it to me.
  • ToolGuy Friendly reminder of two indisputable facts: A) Winners buy new vehicles (only losers buy used), and B) New vehicle buyers are geniuses (their vehicle choices prove it):
  • Groza George Stellantis live off the back of cheap V8 cars with old technology and suffers from lack of new product development. Now that regulations killed this market, they have to ditch the outdated overhead.They are not ready to face the tsunami of cheap Chinese EVs or ready to even go hybrid and will be left in the dust. I expect most of their US offerings to be made in Mexico in the future for good tariff protection and lower costs of labor instead of overpriced and inflexible union labor.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is delaying an oil change for my Highlander by a couple of weeks, as it prevented me from getting an appointment before a business trip out of town. Oh well, much worse things have happened.I also just got a dealership oil change for my BMW (thanks, loss-leader prepaid plans!) and this didn't seem to affect them at all.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Gonna need more EV fuel.