Big 3 US motor vehicle makers post lower-than-expected July sales
NEW YORK, Aug 1 – All three US motor vehicle makers reported lower-than-expected July car sales today as high US unemployment and weak consumer confidence kept would-be buyers on the sidelines.
The largest US motor vehicle maker, General Motors Co, reported a 6 per cent drop in July US sales, while Ford Motor Co reported a 4 per cent drop. Smaller US rival Chrysler Group LLC posted a 13 per cent increase.
Lack of job growth and confusion about government policy on tax cuts and spending tempered sales in July, said George Magliano, senior economist with IHS Automotive.
“It’s the economy. There is no way around it,” Magliano said. “In this kind of environment, it’s very difficult for light vehicle sales to get any traction.”
GM and Magliano forecast the annual car sales pace would be between 13.8 million and 14 million in July. Analysts’ average forecast was 14 million.
GM sold 201,237 cars and trucks last month. It said sales to consumers, which are more profitable, fell 3 per cent, while fleet sales dropped 41 per cent, in line with the company’s expectations.
Ford, the No. 2 US motor vehicle maker, sold 173,966 cars and trucks last month. Ford attributed its sales decline to a 16 per cent reduction in sales to fleet customers. Sales to consumers rose 2 per cent.
Chrysler, majority-owned by Italian motor vehicle maker Fiat SpA , sold 126,089 cars and trucks, its best July in five years.
Auto research firm Edmunds had expected GM to report 214,315 vehicle sales and Ford at least 175,791. Chrysler beat Edmunds’ forecast for its sales but fell short of the Barclays Capital estimate of 129,453 vehicles and the RBC Capital Markets projection of 127,889.
US motor vehicle sales for Japan’s Nissan Motor Co rose 16.2 per cent in July to 98,341. German motor vehicle maker Volkswagen AG reported sales of 37,014, up 27.3 per cent from a year ago.
Analysts had expected better financing deals, pent-up demand and increased construction spending to boost sales in July. – Reuters