US auto sales down 3.7% in July due to lower discounts
Most major automakers reported lower sales in the U.S. market for July after dealerships restrained incentives for the first time in 55 months, according to Bloomberg. Average incentives per vehicle dropped US$ 230 compared with a year ago, according to Ford. Higher interest rates also contributed to the decline, prompting some consumers to opt for lightly used vehicles instead.
According to AutoNews, U.S. auto dealers sold 1.36 million new vehicles last month, a 3.7% decline from July 2017. From January through July auto sales totaled 9.98 million cars and light trucks, which is a figure 1.1% higher than those recorded during the same 7-month period of 2017.
The seasonally adjusted, annualized rate (SAAR) of sales for July fell to 16.73 million, the lowest result since the 16.58-million rate recorded in August 2017, when Hurricane Harvey disrupted sales in the Houston area. There were 24 selling days in the month versus 25 a year ago.
Out of the Big Detroit 3, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) was the only automaker that managed to increase sales up to 6% on 170,970 vehicles. Such result was achieved in great part to the strong performance of the Jeep brand, which experienced a 15% hike in monthly sales.
Back in March, General Motors announced it will cease post of monthly reports in favor of quarterly briefs. However, Bloomberg revealed the automaker sales fell 3.3% last month, citing two people familiar with the data.
Ford Motor sales dropped 3.1% to 194,026 vehicles. However, sales of its very profitable F-Series pickups were up 2.1% with 70,949 units. This marks 15 straight months of year-over-year gains for the F-Series.
Among Japanese automakers, Nissan Motor took the hardest hit with a 15.2% decline to 108,792 units including its Infiniti brand. Passenger car went down 21.1% and SUV and pickup truck sales fell 10.6%.
Honda Motor did better but its sales were still down 8.2% to 138,602 units. Its passenger car sales were off 19.2%, while sales of its SUVs rose 3.8%.
Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) reported July 2018 sales of 208,770 units, down 6% on volume basis. Sales of passenger cars dropped 18% while its light truck division increased sales by 2.8%.
Volkswagen reported sales of 30,520 units, an increase of 12.7% over July 2017. With 203,418 units delivered year-to-date in 2018, the company is reporting an 8% increase in year-over-year sales. The German automaker sold 6,499 Atlas, its largest SUV available in the U.S. market. Such figure represented a 397.6% hike versus same month of 2017.