US vehicle sales in July were up 8.6% from 2001, writes Bill Cawthon.

Ward’ reported that automakers combined to move more than 1.5 million new cars and light trucks last month as the variety of incentives offered by most of the major players kept the market hot.

Light trucks, including SUVs and minivans, captured well over half of the sales. Foreign-badged cars maintained their lead over the competition from Detroit’s ‘Big Three’.

GM’s incentives provided a big payoff with a 24% jump over last year’s numbers and 30% market share.

Car sales were up a healthy 11%, while trucks posted a 36% gain.

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GM got some new bragging rights as the bow tie outsold the blue oval in July.

Ford’s overall sales rose 1.5% in July, although YTD numbers are still down about 9%. Sales to retail customers increased but fleet sales are likely to keep dropping as rental companies like bankrupt Budget and ANC continue to struggle.

Chrysler Group had a 4% sales drop, possibly due to the company’s decision to quit matching incentives. There was some good news as the Ram pickup and several car models posted year-over-year gains.

Chrysler has more models selling ahead of last year’s pace than Ford and retains leadership of the minivan market.

Mercedes is having a banner year. YTD sales of the C-Class are almost 47% ahead of last year. Sales of the new SL premium sportscar are also up. The new E-Class will hit American showrooms in August (and there were rumours this week diesel models will return).

DaimlerChrysler has now officially buried Plymouth and no longer reports sales for the brand.

America’s bestseller continues to be Ford’s F-Series pickup, followed by the Chevy Silverado. The Honda Accord (the redesigned model announced this week goes on sale in September) beat the Toyota Camry to be the best-selling passenger car and take third place overall.

The Ford Explorer, which came in fourth, continues its long reign as America’s favorite SUV. The Camry, which still has the lead in YTD car sales, came in fifth.

Mitsubishi had its best sales month ever in July. Other records included best-July-ever for Toyota, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Subaru and Acura.

BMW recaptured the luxury market lead from Lexus. Cadillac continued its strong recovery, keeping its third-place finish, followed by Mercedes, Acura and Lincoln. Audi sales dropped 10% in July.

BMW has sold 9,605 Minis since March with the peppier Cooper S selling more than the base model in July but accounting for only a third of all Mini sales so far this year. Increased availability of the Cooper S may be the key to the final results for the year.

Two other English brands also had good months. Sales of Jaguar and Land Rover are both up over 60%. The X-type remains Jaguar’s leader, but the S-type also did well, up 52% from July 2001.

The Discovery was Land Rover’s hot model in July and the Range Rover doubled last year’s numbers.

August sales will bear watching as July consumer confidence figures took a sharp drop. With a soft fleet market, the retail customer is more important than ever, especially to the Detroit automakers.

Source is country of manufacture.  Domestics are from U.S., Canada, Mexico.  Imports are from overseas.  Light vehicles are cars and light trucks (GVW Classes 1-3, under 14,001 lbs.).  DSR is daily sales rate.
Source: Ward’
©Copyright 2002, Ward’s Communications, a division of PRIMEDIA Business Magazines & Media Inc.  Redistribution prohibited.

Light vehicles are cars and light trucks (GVW Classes 1-3, under 14,001 lbs.).  DSR is daily sales rate.
**Chrysler Group is former Chrysler Corp. operations only.
Source: Ward’
©Copyright 2002, Ward’s Communications, a division of PRIMEDIA Business Magazines & Media Inc.  Redistribution prohibited.

Top-selling US vehicles for July, according to Reuters:

  1. Ford F-Series pickup  – 479,407
  2. Chevy Silverado pickup – 380,422
  3. Toyota Camry – 264,176
  4. Ford Explorer – 234,634
  5. Dodge Ram pickup – 228,955
  6. Honda Accord – 222,755
  7. Ford Taurus – 194,877
  8. Honda Civic – 181,393
  9. Dodge Caravan – 163,703
  10. Chevrolet Cavalier – 156,015
  11. Chevrolet TrailBlazer – 142,882
  12. Toyota Corolla – 141,461
  13. Ford Ranger pickup – 141,372
  14. Ford Focus – 139,289
  15. Chevrolet Tahoe – 123,695
  16. Jeep Grand Cherokee – 123,465
  17. Nissan Altima – 119,877
  18. Chevrolet Impala – 113,855
  19. GMC Sierra pickup – 113,687
  20. Chevrolet Malibu – 105,324