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Auto sales seen lower in July; US automakers post sharp drops

Auto sales seen lower in July; US automakers post sharp drops

This year, big cuts in sales to rental vehicle fleets and commercial customers were also a factor.

Shares of Ford Motor Co. dropped 2.9% in very active morning trade Tuesday, after the auto maker reported a sharp drop in vehicle and truck sales in July.

After seven years of USA auto sales growth, this year's persistent slump - and anxiety over upheavals from electrification, autonomy and mobility services - has investors shunning automakers as benchmark stock indexes graze record highs.

On Tuesday, carmakers in the US said they were continuing to slash their low-margin sales to rental fleets during July as the overall sales pace for USA autos and light trucks fell for the fifth consecutive month.

Ford's sales excluding heavy trucks declined 7.4 percent, as passenger-car deliveries dropped 19 percent. Ford's decline? 7.5 percent. The exceptions have been Fiat Chrysler, which is poised to benefit from the shift in consumer tastes away from cars toward pickups and sport utility vehicles, and Tesla Inc., which has soared in anticipation of the more affordable Model 3 sedan. New vehicle sales hit a record 17.55 million a year ago. Only the Ford F-series, up 6 percent, improved on year-ago results among major truck models.

The U.S. annualized sales pace for cars and light trucks during July fell to just over 16.72 million vehicles compared to 17.8 million for the same period one year ago, showed data released by Autodata, Corp., which tracks sales in the industry.

Canada's economy grew by 0.6 percent in May from a month earlier, Statistics Canada said last month, exceeding economists' forecasts for 0.2 percent. Auto shopping site Edmunds said the average price paid for a new vehicle in July was $34,558, 2 percent higher than the same month a year ago.

But auto sales are plummeting, hurt by low gas prices and changing tastes.

Ford said in July that sales fell by 7.5%, but inventory was reduced from 79 days at the end of June to 77 at the end of July. Sales of the Ford Fusion midsize sedan dropped 42 percent, while sales of the Chevrolet Spark subcompact fell a whopping 82 percent.

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