Auto sales down in July, the worst month of the year

Alicia Cross
August 3, 2017

Automakers have used low-margin sales to rental fleets to avoid factory shutdowns.

General Motors said its sales fell 15 percent in July, while Hyundai's dropped 28 percent.

Analysts have been predicting lower sales this year as demand levels out after an unprecedented seven straight years of growth.

US carmakers said on Tuesday they continued to slash low-margin sales to daily rental fleets in July as the overall pace of USA auto and light truck sales fell for the fifth straight month. The Dearborn, Mich. -based automaker's fleet sales dropped by 26.4 percent to 40,720 units partly because of a Transit recall delivery hold.

In a more troubling sign for Detroit, combined sales of large pickups fell 4 percent, and sales of large sport utility vehicles declined by 20 percent.

Compared to this time last year, "we're starting off at higher incentive levels; we've got even more elevated inventory levels and even worse inventory-quality problems" heading into the end of the model year, he said. Toyota, however, was able to sell more, reporting a 3.6 percent sales gain. Only the Ford F-series, up 6 percent, improved on year-ago results among major truck models.

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GM gained little ground in its effort to reduce inventories of unsold vehicles.

Canada's economy grew by 0.6 percent in May from a month earlier, Statistics Canada said last month, exceeding economists' forecasts for 0.2 percent.

The U.S. annualized sales pace for cars and light trucks during July fell to just over 16.72 million vehicles compared to 17.8 million for the same period one year ago, showed data released by Autodata, Corp., which tracks sales in the industry.

Taurus sales are down 0.8 percent so far in 2017, and fell by 0.3 percent in July to 2,224 units sold.

But vehicle sales are plummeting, hurt by low gas prices and changing tastes.

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