General Motors Co. said U.S. sales rose 7.6 percent in July, beating analysts’ estimates, and predicted industrywide deliveries may fall as gridlock involving the nation’s debt limit hurt confidence.
Sales during the month rose to 214,915 vehicles from 199,692 a year earlier, Detroit-based GM said today in a statement. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 7 percent increase in deliveries.
Congressional debate over raising the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt ceiling combined with higher gasoline prices and limited supply of small vehicles in hindering total industry sales, said Don Johnson, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales. July light-vehicle deliveries may have run at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 11.8 million, Johnson told reporters yesterday.
“Probably the biggest difference in July over June was the uncertainty that was introduced into consumers’ minds with that whole debt-ceiling debate,” Johnson said on a conference call. “It does tend to dampen the confidence of consumers. Hopefully with that behind us, some of those consumers are going to come back into the market.” A compromise agreement to raise the debt limit and cut federal spending was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday and the Senate is set to vote today.
Deliveries of the Chevrolet Cruze compact slipped 1 percent to 24,648 from June, when it was the industry’s best-selling car. GM ended July with about 28,000 Cruzes in inventory, or about 30 days supply, Johnson said yesterday.
The full-size pickup segment may exceed an 11 percent share of total industry sales for a second consecutive month and increase from June, Johnson said.
GM’s inventory of Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full- size trucks dropped from the end of June, Johnson said yesterday, declining to give specifics. The automaker had 280,000 pickups, or a 122-day supply, at the beginning of July.
GM’s forecast for the July sales rate matches the 11.8 million pace that was the average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Total sales for the industry may fall about 2 percent from July 2010, Johnson said yesterday.
Analysts are projecting a sales rate for July below the 12.1 million averaged in the second quarter and 12.5 million in the first half. The pace has slowed after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan disrupted production and led to shortages of parts and finished vehicles.
Toyota Motor Corp., which has said it expects sales to drop from a year earlier through at least this month, may report a 25 percent decline in deliveries for July, the average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Sales may decline 23 percent at Honda Motor Co., and Nissan Motor Co. deliveries may be little changed from a year earlier, according to the average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Ford Motor Co., which last week reported a second-quarter profit of $2.4 billion, may say deliveries rose 7.6 percent, the average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Full-year U.S. vehicle sales may be at the low end of Ford’s forecast of 13 million to 13.5 million vehicles, Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth told reporters on July 26 at the automaker’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The forecast includes medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
Chrysler Group LLC, the automaker majority owned by Fiat SpA, may say sales increased 15 percent, the average of four estimates. Profit was $181 million in the second quarter after excluding losses from paying back government loans early, Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler said July 26.
Employers added 18,000 jobs in June, the smallest gain in nine months, as the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent, the Labor Department said. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment fell in July to 63.7, the weakest since March 2009, three months before the recession ended.
GM fell 29 cents, or 1 percent, to $27.78 at 10:48 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Ford declined 12 cents to $12.23.
Analysts said estimating the July sales rate was more difficult than other months because the Bureau of Economic Analysis was set to publish today its seasonal adjustments that apply from July through the next 12 months. The revised adjustments are based on sales during the past three years, Everette Johnson, a BEA economist in Washington, said last week.
July had 26 selling days, one fewer than a year earlier.
The U.S. averaged annual light-vehicle sales of 16.8 million vehicles from 2000 to 2007, according to researcher Autodata Corp. Deliveries climbed to 11.6 million in 2010 from a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009.
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