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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Detroit's Big 3, Nissan sales up in July; Honda, Toyota fall

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Detroit's Big 3, Nissan sales up in July; Honda, Toyota fall

Scott Burgess / The Detroit News

Chrysler Group LLC reported a 5 percent increase in sales for July compared to the same month last year. Sales for the year at Chrysler are up 2 percent.

"We're gaining some real traction with the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, and we look forward to the same when we revamp the remaining 75 percent of our nameplates by year end," said Fred Diaz, president and chief executive officer for the Ram Truck brand and lead executive for U.S. sales.

Chrysler executives said they've seen sales increase for 13 vehicles in the company's four-brand lineup for this year.

Honda Motor Co. said July sales dropped 2 percent from the same month a year ago, when Cash for Clunkers buoyed demand for its economical vehicles.

"A year ago the Cash for Clunkers program began, and sales of fuel-efficient Honda vehicles picked up quickly at the end of the month," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda in a press release. "Although July sales declined versus last year, our sales increased compared to June 2010, which is a positive sign."

The automaker's sales are up 14 percent for the year.

Honda sold just over 48,000 Civics and Accords in July, down from nearly 60,000 Accords and Civics the previous July, as Cash for Clunkers began.

Toyota Motor Corp. reported a 3.2 percent drop in July sales, compared to the same month last year.

For the year, however, Toyota's sales remain strong, up more than 23 percent.

Toyota still sold more than 35,000 Toyota Camrys and more than 27,000 Toyota Corollas in July, the automaker said.

Nissan North America reported a 14.6 percent increase in July and continues its resurgence, with sales jumping 24.5 percent for the year.

"The Nissan Rogue continues to set new sales records with its best month since launch and has established us as a serious player in the small crossover market," said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, in a news release. "In fact, all of Nissan's crossovers, trucks and SUVs showed substantial gains over last July."

Rogue sales climbed 61.9 percent in July. Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti also continues to enjoy success in the marketplace. Sales jumped 37.6 percent in July and are up 25.3 percent for the year.

Earlier today, Ford Motor Co. reported a 3.1 increase in sales for July compared to the same month last year.

The uptick was led by a surge in pickup sales -- up 39 percent from the same month last year. Ford sold more than 50,000 pickups in July -- the first month the automaker has sold more than 50,000 pickups since March 2008.

"Customers are rewarding Ford for providing the performance they want and the fuel economy they need," Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a news release.

Overall, Ford continues to have a strong year with sales up 24 percent.

Crosstown rival General Motors Co. reported a 5.4 percent jump in year-over-year sales for July.

More importantly, company executives say, GM's four core brands outsold the eight brands the automaker had last year at the same time. For the year, the core brands have seen a 31 percent increase in sales. This marks the 10th month in a row of sales increases for the four brands.

July also has been the best retail month for GM this year.

"We're optimistic but we're not letting up," said Don Johnson, GM's vice president of U.S. Sales Operations.

SuperDuty gives Ford boost

Ford's new SuperDuty heavy duty truck led the resurgence in pickup sales, with sales up 63 compared to last July.

Mercury sales, however, fell more than 31 percent in July compared to last July. Despite that poor showing, Mercury sales are up 5.7 percent for the year.

Lincoln sales were down 16.3 percent for the month but are up 4.1 percent for the year. Volvo, whose sales numbers are part of Ford's for July, were down 32.9 percent for the month and 10 percent for the year. Volvo will not be part of Ford's numbers in August. The brand was sold to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

GM ore brands see strong growth

Among GM brands, Buick sales are up 60 percent, Cadillac sales are up 46 percent, Chevrolet sales are up 28 percent, and GMC sales are up 18 percent.

Kurt McNeil, sales and service vice president for Cadillac, attributed the sales increases to pent-up consumer demand and more banks making loans available to customers.

"We're seeing more credit availability," McNeil said.

The Buick LaCrosse remains hot with consumers; Buick sold almost as many LaCrosses in July (7,047 units) as the entire brand sold last July (7,099 units). Cadillac continues to show success with the redesigned SRX. Sales for this crossover are up 530 percent for the year.

GM also noted an increase in pickup sales and expects to see that trend to continue for the rest of the year, thanks to the new heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

More automakers will report their July sales today, and many expect to see a jump compared to the same month last year and to June.

Auto executives and analysts expect the figures to show an annualized selling rate between 11.5 million and just under 12 million cars and light trucks.

TrueCar.com, an automotive forecasting firm, forecast a 6 percent increase in sales compared to July 2009, and up 5 percent over June 2010 sales.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100803/AUTO01/8030388/1148/auto01/Detroit-s-Big-3--Nissan-sales-up-in-July--Honda--Toyota-fall#ixzz0vaFlMzNv

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