New vehicle sales remained robust as carmakers continued to post year-over-year gains in a market where the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales, or SAAR, inched towards 18 million units.
General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Lexus, Audi, Subaru and Volkswagen all posted sales increases for July as the industry sales continued at their best tempo in more than a decade.
GM posted a 6% increase, which included the best July results for the maker’s four brands combined since 2007. The month was paced by an 18% increase in Buick sales and an 8% increase in Chevrolet sales. Chevrolet’s results included a 24% increase in pickup, van and SUV sales, and the brand’s best July crossover sales ever.
“The second half of 2015 is off to a great start, with industry sales above expectations,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. vice president of Sales Operations. “GM has been steadily growing its commercial sales and retail marketshare, thanks to our strong truck and crossover portfolio. We feel very good about our truck strategy heading into the late summer and fall, when those segments usually heat up.”
FCA US also reported a 6% increase compared with sales in July and the group’s best July sales since 2005. The Jeep brand’s 23% increase was the largest sales gain of any FCA US brand during the month. The group extended its streak of year-over-year sales gains to 64-consecutive months.
“Last week FCA announced a 69% increase in second quarter profits and now we post our best July U.S. sales since 2005,” said Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales. “With Jeep sales up 23%, we were also able to achieve our 64th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases.”
Bigland added U.S. industry sales figures for July are projected by FCA at an estimated 17.8 million unit SAAR.
After a so-so first half, strong demand for its newest products lifted Ford to its best July U.S. sales performance since 2006 as sales increased by 5%.
“We continue seeing even stronger demand for our newest products, especially F-150, Explorer, Edge, Mustang and Transit,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “With continued improvement in inventory, F-Series retail momentum continued building in July. Customers truly value the new F-150’s capability, performance and fuel efficiency.”
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F-Series retail sales are up 13%, providing the best July retail results since 2006, even with continued all-time record transaction pricing – up $3,200 versus a year ago, LaNeve noted.
Toyota reported an increase of just under 1% for “July auto sales showed no signs of slow down for the industry,” said Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager. “Led by Tacoma sales, the Toyota division light trucks posted a best-ever July.”
Lexus reported also reported a 9.1 % from July 2014 on a volume basis and daily sales rate basis.
“We continue to see strong demand for luxury utility vehicles. In fact, this past July marked the GX model’s best July sales since 2005,” said Jeff Bracken Lexus group vice president and general manager. “On the heels of strong sales of NX, and with a new LX, and RX models arriving to showrooms in the coming months, we are very excited about the future our lineup of luxury utility vehicles,” Bracken said.
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Nissan Group announced an increase of 7.8% over the prior year and a July record.
Audi also had one of it s best months ever posting a 20.8% sales increase, while Volkswagen continued to gain ground after a long slump with a 2.4% increase in sales during July.
Audi achieved its best-ever July sales in the U.S., marking the 55th consecutive monthly sales record. The previous July record was set in 2014 with 14,616 Audi vehicles sold. Through the first seven months of 2015, Audi U.S. sales rose 12.4% from last year to 111,269 vehicles.
Strong consumer demand has also raised the average transaction price for new vehicles.
The estimated average transaction price for light vehicles in the United States was $33,453 in July 2015. New car prices have increased by $856 (up 2.6%) from July 2014, while remaining flat from last month, according to Kelley Blue Book.
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“Transaction prices continue to climb across the industry, with some notable gains from small and medium volume brands like Fiat, Kia, Mazda and Subaru,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “However, Nissan reports the largest average transaction price increase among the large manufacturers with prices up nearly 6%, driven primarily by its Maxima, Murano, Rogue and Sentra models.”