This year, big cuts in sales to rental vehicle fleets and commercial customers were also a factor.
In early reporting Tuesday, General Motors Co. sales were down 15.4 percent from a year ago, Ford Motor Co. said its sales were down 7.5 percent and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' sales were down by 10.5 percent. After an unprecedented seven years of growth, analysts are predicting lower USA sales this year.
"Driven by our enormous success with our crossover portfolio, it is like we have sold an extra months' worth of retail sales so far this year", John Roth, vice president of sales, service and marketing at GM Canada said in a statement. The drop in annual sales pace for July compared to one year ago is equal to total output for four plants. Ford's decline? 7.5 percent. The projected rate, which is adjusted for seasonal trends, would be down from 17.9 million a year earlier, though it alsowould be the fastest rate since February.
Ford's sales were down 7.5 percent, Fiat Chrysler's declined 10 percent, Volkswagen's fell 5.8 percent, Nissan's fell 3 percent and Honda's were down 1.2 percent. The Dearborn, Mich. -based automaker's fleet sales dropped by 26.4 percent to 40,720 units partly because of a Transit recall delivery hold. That was lower than expected, said Alec Gutierrez, a senior market analyst with the Kelley Blue Book site, but he is maintaining his full-year forecast of 17.1 million sales.
GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler have said second-half financial results likely will be lower than first-half results, in part reflecting production cuts in North America and pricing pressures.
Automakers continue to see healthy profits, thanks to consumers' preference for SUVs.
The Explorer SUV, which is made at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant just across the state line in Hegewisch, saw retail sales rise by 20.4 percent last month, with a third of the gains coming from the premium Limited, Sport and Platinum models.