- Group Seeks Demolition Permit For Church
- Layoff Notices For Mental Health Workers
- Teacher Accused of Teaching While Drunk
- RAW: Graphic 911 Call Released
- New Business and Net Neutrality
- Plane Skids Off Runway at LaGuardia Airport
- That One Cupcake Place
- Special Olympic Athlete Abuse
- Coralville Unveils RAGBRAI Theme
- Ringling Bros. Removing Elephant Act
- Iowans Could Lose ACA Subsidies
- Gun Bills Continue Advance in Des Moines
- Case Against IA Teacher Dismissed
- Clinton Asks Gov't to Release Emails
- Caring for a Croupy Cough
- UI Named in Worst Free Speech List
- Parents Fight Cyberbullying
- The Free Speech Debate At UI
- UPDATE: Arrest Made in CR Bank Robbery
- Engineers to Oversee Proposed Pipeline
- North Liberty Construction Begins
- Study Reveals More Health, Less Waste
- Dangerous Scam Unfolding on Phones
- Independence Seeks Fast Internet
- 100 Years of History at Coggon Opera House
- Mental Health Screenings at Schools
- Graphic Testimony in Frederiksen Trial
- House Panel OKs Ultrasound/Abortion Bill
- Appeal Filed In 'American Sniper' Case
- Woman Impaled During Car Crash
- Law Would Require Time Off To Caucus
- Senate Panel Approves Radon Rules
- DOJ Clears Wilson in Michael Brown Killing
- Man Found with Pound of Marijuana in Car
- UI Planning New Power Plant
- Target Plans Major Cuts
- New Police Body Cam Bill Introduced
- Man Charged in UVA Slaying Appears
- Trial for Tsarnaev to Begin Wednesday
- Lawmakers Working on Racial Profiling Bill
- Preserving Fertility After Breast Cancer
- AL Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage
- College Asks for Federal Review
- Gun Bill Moves Forward
- Panel OKs Texting Ban
- Governor Branstad Interview On Issues
- Men Get Jail Time for Meth Lab Fire
- Legislative Efforts for Medical Cannabis
- RAW NEWS: Governor Branstad Interview
- IC Coffee Shop Nationally Recognized
Auto Sales Rise As Prices Hold
Updated: Thursday, August 1 2013, 08:23 AM CDT
DETROIT (AP) -- Chrysler's U.S. sales rose 11 percent last month for the automaker's best July in seven years.
The Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker said it sold just over 140,000 cars and trucks last month, led by strong pickup truck and SUV sales. It was Chrysler's best July since 2006.
Chrysler's report kicks off a day of sales tallies from the major automakers. Most industry analysts expect July sales to rise around 15 percent from a year ago. A performance that strong will signal that the industry's momentum can carry through the second half of the year.
Sales of the Ram full-size pickup rose 31 percent over a year ago, buoyed by an improving housing market that's helping to drive purchases by small business. Jeep Grand Cherokee sales rose 30 percent, the SUV's best July since 2005.
Chrysler had strong retail sales to individual buyers during the month, particularly in pickups and SUVs, said Reid Bigland, the company's U.S. sales chief. It was Chrysler's 40th straight month of year-over-year sales growth.
Chrysler is predicting that industry sales in July will run at an annual rate of 15.8 million vehicles.
"We're almost at a pre-recession pace that looks like it may have the momentum that will carry it through the second half of the year and beyond," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst for Kelley Blue Book.
The consulting firm LMC Automotive said the second-half tail wind could push this year's sales to around 16 million. Sales last topped 16 million in 2007, just ahead off the recession. They bottomed out at a 30-year low of 10.4 million in 2009, and have been recovering ever since.
A combination of low interest rates, an improving economy, rising consumer confidence and increasing home values in many areas is driving sales. In addition, automakers have been rolling out appealing new products in every segment from subcompact cars to big pickup trucks.
Sales of pickup trucks are especially strong, which helps the Detroit automakers. Sales of compact and subcompact cars as well as compact crossover SUVs are expected to also show healthy gains, Gutierrez said. Total pickup truck sales could rise as much as 30 percent in July, he said. Edmunds.com says last month may have been the strongest July in seven years.
Incentives are helping sales. Incentives such as rebates and low-interest loans in July rose nearly 8 percent over a year ago to $2,684 per vehicle. That's the highest level of the year, said Jesse Toprak, senior analyst for the TrueCar.com auto pricing site.
Overall, though, the discounts haven't cut prices. The average sale price of a vehicle last month held steady at just over $31,000, Toprak said. That's because buyers are loading up on options, which boosts the price, he said. To get lower monthly payments with a higher price, buyers are stretching out their loans and leasing more vehicles, according to LMC.
Thirty percent of car loans now are six years or longer, up from 29 percent in the first half of last year. Leasing, which generally lowers monthly payments, accounts for 24 percent of auto sales, up from 21 percent a year ago, LMC said.
At Chrysler, sales of the Jeep Compass and Patriot small SUVs were each up close to 30 percent as well. But some of the company's other models in key segments saw sales declines, including the Chrysler 200 midsize car, which was down 13 percent.
2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.