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In this combo made with file photos, logos for the Big Three automobile manufacturers, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, are shown. (AP)
In this combo made with file photos, logos for the Big Three automobile manufacturers, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, are shown. (AP)

Chrysler’s U.S. auto sales rise 20% in July Add to ...

Chrysler Group LLC on Friday said its U.S. July auto sales rose 20 per cent and that it expected the industry to show an 8 per cent increase for the month. Both figures were below analysts’ estimates.

Nine analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected gains of 25.5 per cent for Chrysler and 11 per cent for the industry. However, Chrysler said last month was its best July since 2005, with sales of 167,667 vehicles.

Gains in U.S. auto sales have been stronger than the overall economy since the recession. Still, the monthly figures also provide an early glimpse into consumer spending.

Auto sales dropped to a low of 10.4 million vehicles in 2009 and have risen steadily since, reaching 15.6 million vehicles last year. They are on a pace for about 16.4 million this year, in part because of easier credit and loans of up to 84 months.

In a posting on Twitter, Hyundai Motor Co <005380.KS> said its U.S. July sales rose 1.5 per cent to 67,011 vehicles, an all-time record for that month.

General Motors Co <GM.N>, which reports sales later on Friday morning, is expected to show a gain of 11 per cent, according to the analysts surveyed by Reuters.

This month Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> is expected to nudge Ford Motor Co <F.N> for the No. 2 sales spot, behind GM. Analysts expect Toyota sales to rise 11 per cent and Ford’s to increase 9 per cent.

Toyota topped Ford in U.S. sales in July 2013, but Ford has held second place for all of last year and so far this year.

On Friday in Turin, Italy, where Chrysler parent Fiat <FIA.MI> is headquartered for now, shareholders are expected to approve a merger that will create Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, to be registered in the Netherlands.

Fiat has relied on the resurgence of Chrysler in North America since the No. 3 U.S. automaker’s 2009 government-sponsored bankruptcy as Europe’s auto sales flagged.

Sales of Chrysler’s Jeep SUV brand, which Fiat Chrysler sees as a linchpin in its global growth, showed sales up 41 per cent in July, while Ram truck sales rose 14 per cent. Chrysler brand sales increased 17 per cent, and Dodge brand sales were up 3 per cent.

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