CHICAGO – U.S. auto sales continued to accelerate, posting the best July performance since 2006 Thursday as consumers flocked to dealerships to replace aging vehicles with new models at low interest rates.
"Solid industry sales in July point to a stable market indicating a recovering economy," said Bill Fay, group vice president at Toyota (IW 1000/8). "Consumer confidence also maintained elevated levels as evidenced by strong retail sales."
Total industry sales rose 14% from results in July 2012, according to Autodata.
The sales came in at an adjusted, annualized rate of 15.7 million units, down slightly from the 16 million posted in June but up sharply from the 14.1 million set a year ago.
Toyota's sales rose 17% to 193,394 vehicles in July, the Japanese automaker said.
GM's (IW 500/5) sales jumped 16% in July to 234,071 vehicles.
"For GM, July was the most well-balanced month of the year from a retail sales standpoint: Trucks were hot, but so were small cars and family vehicles," GM sales chief Kurt McNeil said.
"Our experience shows that the difference between good sales and great sales in a slow-growth economy is how many new products you have to offer, and we are starting to hit our sweet spot."
Chrysler posted its 40th consecutive month of gains as sales rose 11% to 140,102 vehicles, its best July performance in seven years.
"We continue to see strong retail sales, particularly with our pickup trucks and SUVs," Chrysler sales chief Reid Bigland said.
Ford's sales rose 11% to 193,715 vehicles for its best July since 2006.
"Our small cars and hybrids continue to attract new customers to Ford and away from our competitors, thanks to the vehicles' combination of styling, technology, fuel economy and performance," Ford (IW 500/8) sales chief Ken Czubay said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013