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. Wanted: New businesses on Safety Harbor's Main Street

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — A green grocery store, a hardware store, restaurants, boutiques and multi-use buildings are all wanted downtown, according to discussion at a community redevelopment workshop held last week. And to bring them to the Main Street district, city commissioners, led by Mayor Joe Ayoub, gave City Manager …

    Whistle Stop Bar & Grill is one of the main stops on Main Street in Safety Harbor. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  2. Q&A: A business leader and historian jointly delve into Tampa's waterfront

    Business

    TAMPA — As a native of Tampa, Arthur Savage has always had a passion for his hometown's history. And as a third-generation owner and operator of A.R. Savage & Son, a Tampa-based shipping agency, his affinity for his hometown also extends to its local waterways.

    Arthur Savage (left) and Rodney Kite-Powell, co-authors of "Tampa Bay's Waterfront: Its History and Development," stand for a portrait with the bust of James McKay Sr. in downtown Tampa on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. McKay, who passed away in 1876, was a prominent businessman, among other things, in the Tampa area. He was Arthur Savage's great great grandfather. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Tampa's connected-vehicle program looking for volunteers

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Drivers on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway can save on their monthly toll bill by volunteering to test new technology that will warn them about potential crashes and traffic jams.

    A rendering shows how new technology available through the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority will warn driver's about crashes, traffic jams, speed decreases and more. THEA is seeking 1,600 volunteers to install the devices, which will display alerts in their review mirrors, as part of an 18-month connected-vehicle pilot.
  4. What Florida's top Republicans are saying about Donald Trump

    State Roundup

    Republicans nationwide are blasting President Donald Trump for how he responded to Charlottesville.

    U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement on the violence this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia at the White House on August 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in Charlottesville when a car allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. barreled into a crowd of counter-protesters following violence at the 'Unite the Right' rally. Two Virginia state police troopers were also killed when their helicopter crashed while covering events on the ground. [Getty Images]
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning, Amalie Arena to host job fair today

    Business

    TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Lightning and its home, Amalie Arena, are hosting a part-time job fair from 3 to 6 p.m. today on the Promenade Level of the arena. Available positions include platinum services, parking attendants, event security, housekeeping, retail and many other departments.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning and AMALIE Arena is hosting a part-time job fair on Thursday, Aug. 17 on the Promenade level of the arena.