Click here to read the preview and the final results for July 2014 new motor vehicle sales.
The world’s top automakers report their U.S. sales figured throughout the day Friday. Analysts believe American car buyers purchased more than 1.4 million new motor vehicles last month, making it the best July since 2006, more than a year before the start of the Great Recession.
The seasonally adjusted rate of new auto sales, an important monthly snapshot of a 12-month running average, is seen coming in between 16.5 million and 16.8 million, above the 16.1 million reached in 2007.
Industry watchers think the eight biggest auto manufacturers, responsible for more than 80 percent of all motor vehicle deliveries, grew sales by more than 10 percent in the U.S. last month compared to July 2013.
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NOTE: Scroll down for more recent updates.
UPDATE 7:54 a.m. EST: Chrysler Group LLC
The Auburn Hills, Michigan, maker of Jeeps and the Ram pickup truck said Friday morning it sold 20 percent more cars, SUVs and light trucks in the U.S. last month, the best July sales record since 2005, to 167,667 vehicles.
The company owned by Italian carmaker Fiat SpA (BIT:F) delivered 14 percent more Ram pickups, to 35,621 units, which represents about one in five of the company’s U.S. sales last month.
“Sales of the all-new Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan continued to increase while our Jeep and Ram Truck brands each turned in double-digit sales gains,” Reid Bigland, the head of Chrysler’s U.S. sales, said in the company’s monthly sales report.
Fiat brand minis sold in the U.S. continued to perform poorly, with a 16 percent drop in deliveries of the 500 model, to 2,371 units.
Chrysler’s best performing models last month include:
Jeep Wrangler SUV: up 14 percent to 16,388.
Chrysler Town & Country minivan: up 41 percent to 11,370.
Dodge Caravan minivan: up 10 percent to 9,473.
Chrysler’s poor performers include:
Dodge Durango SUV: down 6 percent to 4,807.
Dodge Avenger sedan: sales dropped 30 percent to 4,318 as it is being phased out, replaced by the Chrysler 200.
Dodge Challenger muscle car: up 1 percent to 4,294.
Check out this recent review of the Chrysler 200 from Saabkyle04 on YouTube:
Related: Fiat shareholders are meeting at the company headquarters in Turin, Italy, Friday. They are expected to approve a merger that would create Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA. The move would provide Fiat with much needed capital from Chrysler as the Italain automaker struggles in the sluggish European economy. Chrysler is expected to soon return to the New York stock exchange. Chrysler went bankrupt in 2009 and was rescued by the U.S. taxpayer to the tune of $1.3 billion.
UPDATE 8:20 a.m. EST
UPDATE 9:17 a.m. EST: Nissan U.S.A.
The Nashville, Tennessee-based subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (TYO:7201), Japan’s third-largest car company, said Friday it delivered 11.4 percent more cars, SUVs and pickups in the U.S. last month than it did in July 2013.
The company’s luxury Infiniti division grew sales by 10 percent on demand for the QX70 mid-sized crossover and QX80 full-sized SUV.
“The July 4th holiday got sales off to a great start, and the pace remained solid all month,” Fred Diaz, head of Nissan’s U.S. sales, said by email.
Americans buyers snatched up 62 percent more the Nissan LEAFs, the best-ever selling fully electric car, last month compared to the year-ago period, to 3,019 units.
Nissan’s best sellers for July include:
Sentra compact car: up 54 percent to 17,579. The Sentra in its seventh generation sinceit was first introduced in 1982. The last model update was in 2013.
Versa sedan, refreshed for the 2014 model year: up 73 percent to 15,630 units.
Murano mid-sized crossover: up 22 percent to 4,640 units. The Murano is in its second generation, with its last major re-design in 2009.
Nissan’s duds for the month include:
Altima mid-sized car: down 10 percent to 26,654. The fifth-generation of Nissan’s bestselling product came out in 2013.
Armada full-sized SUV: down 14 percent to 948 units. Introduced in 2003, the Armada has never seen a major re-design and is still in its first generation with minor changes to trim and options through its model years.
Rogue compact crossover: down 2.2 percent to 16,618. The Rogue is Nissan’s bestselling truck. Introduced in 2008, the second-generation Rogue went on sale last November.
Nissan sold 91 of its GT-R sports car, down 29 percent from last year. Watch the Nissan GT-R recently hit 237 mph in Sun Valley, Idaho.
UPDATE 9:54 a.m. EST: Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F)
The Dearborn, Michigan, car company said Friday it sold 9.6 percent more vehicles in the U.S. last month than in same month last year, or 212,236 units, led by strong performance in the company’s utility vehicle segment, which includes the Edge mid-sized crossover and Explorer full-sized SUV.
“Escape [compact crossover] and Fusion [mid-sized car] were big contributors to our sales increases,” John Felice head of the company’s U.S. sales, said in the company announcement this morning.
The F-Series pickup truck grew sales by 4.6 percent to 63,240 units. The bestselling vehicle in the U.S. represented 30 percent of all Ford Motor Company sales.
Sales in the luxury Lincoln division jumped nearly 14 percent to 7,863 vehicles.
Ford’s best July 2014 sales performers include: Fusion sedan: up nearly 17 percent to 23,942. Ford’s bestselling sedan was introduced in 2005 and entered its second generation in 2012. The Fusion was recalled in 2012 for fire risk from its 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine.
Mustang sports car: up nearly 14 percent to 6,564 units after the sixth-generation of the muscle car first introduced in 1963 went on sale in December.
Lincoln MKC: Ford’s new luxury compact crossover was responsible for almost all of Lincoln’s growth last month. Only the Navigator full-sized SUV grew sales by a slim 0.2 percent.
Ford’s poor performers in July include: Lincoln MKS full-sized luxury car: down 49 percent to 530 units. A model re-fresh (not a full redesign) occurred for the 2013 model year.
Edge mid-sized crossover: down 19 percent to 8,564. The upcoming 2015 Edge will be the car’s second generation after it was introduced in 2007.
Taurus full-sized sedan: down 12 percent to 5,587. The sixth generation Ford car was given a facelift last year but hasn’t seen a major redesign since 2010.
Check out the 2016 Ford Mustang SVT recently running the German Nürburgring:
UPDATE 10:38 a.m. EST: General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM)
Despite recalling 30 million vehicles since the start of the year, the Detroit auto giant reported on Friday a 9.4 percent jump in its U.S. new motor vehicle sales last month compared to July 2013.
Led by strong performance in the company’s mix of SUVs and crossovers, GM delivered 256,160 vehicles this past July. The company has now sold over a million SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks (excluding sedans) in the U.S. this year.
“Sales of utility vehicles soared in July because American families feel better about the economy than they have in a long time,” Kurt McNeil, head of GM sales, said in announcing the data this morning.
The company’s luxury Cadillac division saw a 2.6 percent drop in deliveries despite robust growth in Escalade SUVs. Buick sales increased nearly 8 percent.
The Chevy Silverado pickup truck, one of the country’s top-selling vehicles and GM’s top seller, saw flat sales growth at 42,097 deliveries. Sales are down nearly one percent this year.
Winners for the month include:
Enclave crossover: up 6 percent to 5,266. The Enclave is GM’s bestselling Buick.
Escalade SUV: up 123 percent to 2,467.
Camaro: up 25 percent to 9,961. The Chevrolet Pony car’s sales are up nearly 13 percent so far this year, to 56,633 units.
Duds for the month:
Cruze: down 18 percent to 20,926. GM has recalled three batches of the Chevrolet compact car since 2011 and in March stopped the sale of the 2013 and 2014 model years of the vehicle, then it ordered a recall for an axle problem.
Impala: down 25.4 percent to 9,636. Like the Cruze, the Impala, a mid-sized sedan, has been the subject of recent recalls. This has adversely impacted sales.
Suburban: down over 16 percent. The 2015 Suburban is in its 12th generation and recently went on sale. It’s one of GM’s oldest existing models, first introduced in 1933.
UPDATE 10:54 a.m. EST: Credit Frenzy
According to automotive pricing and market information provider Edmunds.com, 23 percent of new motor vehicle sales this year have been made with cash or outside financing arrangements, like bank auto loans. That’s down from 35 percent in 2009 and approaching a record low.
About 13.5 percent of new auto loans were offered at 0 percent interest, the highest rate since December 2010 amid concerns that the country was about to enter a double-dip recession.
“You can't underestimate how important dealer financing has been to this automotive recovery,” Edmunds.com’s senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said in an email on Friday. “It's attractive enough when a dealer offers zero percent APR, but now it's more common to see zero percent for as many as 72 months, which was virtually unheard of not too long ago.”
UPDATE 11:26 a.m. EST: Volkswagen Group of America Inc.
The Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, subsidiary of Volkswagen AG (ETR:VOW3) said Friday sales dropped 14.6 percent last month compared to the same month last year, to 30,553 vehicles, as the German auto giant continues to have problems in the U.S. despite a good start with the company’s newly designed 2015 Golf GTI.
“We are confident we will see more showroom traffic at our dealers in the weeks and months ahead,” Mark McNabb, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said in Friday’s announcement.
Volkswagen’s mix of vehicles, which are heavy in minis and sedans isn’t right for the U.S. market where crossovers, SUVs and pickups dominate. The company is betting that an upcoming U.S.-made mid-sized SUV for the North American market, due out in 2016, will eventually help.
“Volkswagen’s Golf has increased in positive attention, but it remains a niche in a highly-competitive segment with little growth,” Michelle Krebs, senior autos analyst for market pricing and information provider Kelley Blue Book, said in an email. “Volkswagen is missing the small utility boom without a fresh offering beyond the Tiguan [compact crossover].”
Volkswagen’s sales are down across its U.S. model inventory, except for the GTI, which grew sales by 39 percent to 1,727 units. The Eos compact was the only other Volkswagen to see a sales increase from last year on a very low volume of 352 cars.
Jedda Sedan sales were virtually flat at 11,008 units.
On a brighter said for Volkswagen Group, Audi sales have been doing well.
Herndon, Virgina-based Audi America, the subsidiary of Audi AG (FRA:NSU), which is owned by Volkswagen, increased July sales by 12 percent to 14,616 led by strong performance from the Audi A8. Premium-brand cars have wider profit margins despite lower sales volume compared to mainstream brands.
Volkswagen AG is the world’s second largest automaker by sales volume, and strong performance in China is setting the stage for the company to surpass top-ranked Toyota this year. In the first six months, Volkswagen delivered nearly 5 million vehicles worldwide, just shy of its Japanese rival’s nearly 5.1 million deliveries.
Check out a recent review of the 2015 Volkswagen Golf 7 R:
UPDATE 12:30 p.m. EST: Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America
The South Korean auto-making duo reported Friday they sold a combined 152,005 motor vehicles in the U.S. last month, a 3.7 percent increase from July 2013.
Hyundai Motor Co. (KRX:005380)’s Fountain Valley, California-based subsidiary delivered 67,011 cars and utility vehicles, 1.5 percent more than the company sold in the same month last year.
Driving up the number came thanks in part to a boost from the recent introduction of the seventh generation Sonata mid-sized car. The Sonata is company’s current best seller in the U.S. at 22,577, or a third of total Hyundai sales in the country. Last year, the Elantra was the best seller, but volume declined by 7.3 percent to 22,213 vehicles. The luxury Genesis sedan saw deliveries rise 5.2 percent in the same period of time, to 2,990.
On its own, Kia Motors Corp. (KRX:000270) fared better in the U.S. last month than Hyundai, with a 6.7 percent increase in sales volume compared to July 2013, to 52,309 deliveries. The Biggest jump was from the Soul compact car, which entered its second generation in the current model year. (An electric version is coming soon to some parts of the U.S. where EV demand is strongest, like Oregon and New York.)
Soul sales jumped nearly 45 percent to 14,709, well over a quarter of total Kia U.S. new-car sales last month. The Optima sedan, Kia’s second-best seller saw sales drop a light 1 percent last month to 13,588.
Here’s a recent review of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata:
UPDATE 1:24 p.m. EST: American Honda Motor Co.
The U.S. subsidiary of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (TYO:7267), Japan’s second largest automaker and the largest producer of motor vehicle engines in the world, said Friday it delivered 3.9 percent fewer vehicles in the U.S. last month, to 135,908 units, as demand fell for the company’s luxury Acura division.
Sales of Honda’s important Civic compact also dropped 7.3 percent to 30,038 deliveries. In its ninth generation, the car was last redesigned in 2011 and is getting long in the tooth, especially for a car in the compact sedan segment.
Jeff Conrad, Honda division senior vice president and general manager, said in a statement that the CR-V – one of Honda’s most important models in the U.S. – saw a record sales month with a 4.8 percent jump to 28,522 units.
The Honda Accord, the U.S. bestseller for the company, entered its ninth generation last year and its relative freshness gave it a 7 percent boost last month, to 35,073 deliveries.
Acura sales dropped nearly 18 percent with seven out of Acura’s current eight models dropping by double digits on stronger offerings from competitors in the luxury segment – especially Audi (see above).
Only the Acura MDX mid-sized SUV increased sales. Like Accord, the MDX was redesigned last year. The vehicle is now in its third generation.
Side note: Watch Honda’s 2015 NSX supercar buzz the Nürburgring circuit:
And then watch it catch fire on its second day of testing:
UPDATE 2:43 a.m. EST: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
The Torrance, California-based subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. (TYO:7203) said Friday U.S. deliveries jumped 11.6 percent in July, to 215,802 units on strong demand for the Corolla subcompact, Camry mid-sized car and the RAV4 crossover.
The Japanese automaker’s luxury Lexus brand did well, too, with a nearly 19-percent jump and increases in six out of eight models in the division.
The Tacoma pickup truck didn’t fare as well. Sales declined 4.6 percent to 13,249. Tundra pickup truck sales were up 5 percent to 10,312. Check out this recent review of the 2014 Tundra: