Make us your home page
Instagram

U.S. auto industry uneasy after weak July sales

DETROIT — Auto sales rose only slightly in July, adding to concerns in the industry that Americans are pulling back on car buying. A lack of discounts and lingering shortages of Japanese cars kept many buyers away. Americans also worried about the economy.

"There's definitely some weakness kind of looming out there," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates.

But July wasn't a total loss. Sales of compact cars and newer, more fuel-efficient SUVs rose.

Trucks sales were down, however, hurt by continuing weakness in construction.

Sales rose 8 percent at General Motors, led by fuel-efficient vehicles such as the Chevrolet Cruze, which can get 30 mpg in combined city-highway driving. Sales rose sharply for the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain small crossovers, which also get good gas mileage.

Ford said sales rose 6 percent. The new Ford Explorer was a strong performer, with sales more than double a year ago. One of the company's small cars did well, too. The Fiesta saw sales rise 58 percent.

Sales fell 28.4 percent last month at Honda and 22.7 percent at Toyota compared with July 2010. Both companies have been struggling to meet demand because of parts shortages caused by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March.

Kia said its July sales jumped 28.5 percent, thanks to strong sales of the new Optima sedan, which were more than triple last year's numbers.

Buyers, who are accustomed to summertime discounts, are also concerned about high prices. Schuster said a standoff could be brewing between people waiting for deals and automakers that are reluctant to give them.

Carmakers are keeping prices high because of rising steel costs and lingering shortages of some vehicles and parts.

General Motors' vice president of sales, Don Johnson, predicted that discounts would rise in the second half. Japanese cars are re-entering the market as their factories come back on line. That could boost industry sales because many people are waiting for those cars. Also, sales could get a lift from people who are driving older cars and finally need to replace them.

"The underlying fundamentals are there to get back on track with that slow, steady growth that we saw earlier in the year," Johnson said.

U.S. auto industry uneasy after weak July sales 08/02/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 8:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]