US auto sales grow but signs of slowdown
AUTOMAKERS struggled to maintain US vehicle sales growth in July, with bigger players posting declines in a fresh sign that the industry’s six-year boom may be slowing.
While overall sales in July inched up, General Motors’ sales declined 2 percent from a year ago and Toyota’s declined 1.4pc. Ford reported a 3pc decline.
Overall about 1.52 million vehicles were sold last month, up 0.7pc from a year ago, according to Autodata.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate ticked up to 17.88 million units, compared with 17.59 million in July 2015, it said.
Barclay’s economist Jesse Hurwitz said July sales beat the median consensus estimate of 17.3 million.
Honda sales were up 4.4pc and Nissan was up 1.2pc. GM, the biggest US automaker, remained optimistic thanks to a 5pc gain in retail sales as it shifts away from fleet sales.
Declines among some of the largest players suggested that six consecutive years of sales gains may be slowing.
With gasoline prices low, demand remained strong for fuel-guzzling sport-utility vehicles and trucks.
Honda, GM, Toyota and Nissan touted the popularity of their SUVs, while also reporting gains among cheaper sedans.
Luxury carmaker BMW posted a drop in sales of 5pc. Volkswagen continued a precipitous sales drop as it tries to recover from its diesel emissions-cheating scandal. July US sales of VW vehicles fell 8.1pc year-over-year. –