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U.S. light-vehicle sales rose 9% year over year to 1.44 million in Jul 2014. Sales on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) basis increased to 16.5 million from the year-ago level of 15.8 million units.

Most major automakers reported good results. While General Motors Co. (GM - Analyst Report), Toyota Motor Corp. (TM - Analyst Report), Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NSANY), Ford Motor Co. (F - Analyst Report) and Chrysler posted sales growth, sales at Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC - Analyst Report) declined.

Now let us look at the U.S. sales figures reported by the individual automakers.

U.S. Automakers

General Motors recorded 256,160 vehicle sales in July, up 9% year over year. This is the company’s best July sales since 2007. Retail sales increased 4%, commercial sale went up 69%, while fleet sales improved 21%.

Ford reported a 10% increase in total sales from the year-ago period to 212,236 vehicles in Jul 2014. This was the company’s best July sales in 8 years. Retail sales improved 7% year over year to 162,028 units.

Chrysler Group – controlled by Italy’s Fiat S.p.A (FIATY) – recorded a 20% year-over-year rise in sales, pulling the figure up to 167,667 vehicles. Chrysler witnessed a year-over-year increase in monthly sales for 52 consecutive months, which is impressive. Moreover, this is the best July sales for the group since 2005.

Japanese Automakers

Toyota’s sales increased 7.3% year over year on daily selling rate (DSR) basis and 11.6% on volume basis to 215,802 units in Jul 2014. Sales in the Toyota division improved 10.6% based on volume and 6.4% on DSR basis to 188,469 units. Lexus sales rose 14.1% on DSR basis and 18.7% on volume basis to 27,333 units.

Honda recorded a 3.9% year-over-year decrease in sales on volume basis to 135,908 vehicles in Jul 2014. Sales on DSR basis decreased 7.6% year over year. Sales in the Honda Division decreased 2.3% on volume basis and 6.0% on DSR basis to 123,428 units. Sales of the Acura Division fell 17.6% on volume basis and 20.8% on DSR basis to 12,480 vehicles.

Nissan Motor posted an 11.4% year-over-year increase in sales to 121,452 vehicles in July. Sales in the Nissan division also climbed 11.5% to 112,914 units. Further, sales of the Infiniti Division went up 10% to 8,538 units in the month. 

Outlook

Automakers are offering large incentives to attract consumers, which is leading to strong U.S. auto sales. Moreover, with improvement in the general economic situation, banks are offering more car loans with lower interest rates and longer repayment periods.

Other factors contributing to the increasing auto sales include rising employment rate, growing consumer confidence and recovery of the housing market.  Further, the high average age of cars on the U.S. roads is resulting in high replacement demand for cars as well as car parts.

In the long run, sales are expected to rise on the back of pent-up demand and improving macroeconomic conditions. As the automobile industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economic growth, improving auto sales will help in reviving the overall U.S. economy.

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