Hamilton County July vehicle sales rise 15 percent

Hamilton County July vehicle sales rise 15 percent

August 3rd, 2011 by Staff Reports in Business Around the Region

Demand for new cars and trucks in Hamilton County was up sharply in July over a year ago, figures show.

New vehicle registrations rose 15 percent in July versus the same month in 2010 to 851 cars and trucks, according to the Hamilton County Clerk's Office.

For the first seven months of the year, registrations are up 14.2 percent in the county compared with the same period a year ago.

But compared to June, the number of vehicles titled in July was down 13.6 percent in Hamilton County.

The industry was hurt last month by consumer uncertainty about the economy, higher prices and spot shortages of the Japanese brands and small cars, analysts and industry executives said.

"The auto industry is having a difficult time shaking off adversity," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates.

General Motors Co. said July sales rose 7.6 percent to a 214,915 vehicles compared to the same month a year earlier.

American Honda Motor Co. said its July sales fell 28.4 percent to 80,052 vehicles.

Honda was one of the auto companies hit hardest by manufacturing and parts supply disruptions caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

"We look forward to improved inventory levels in the coming months as most of our North American facilities begin to return to full production in August," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda.

Toyota Motor Corp. said its July sales fell 22.7 percent to 130,802 vehicles, while Subaru sales fell 9.4 percent to 21,730 vehicles. Nissan North America said its sales rose just 2.7 percent to 84,601 vehicles.

Other automakers posted better results.

Ford Motor Co. said its July sales totaled 180,865, up 8.9 percent from the same month a year earlier.

Chrysler Group posted a 20 percent increase to 112,026 vehicles.

It was the automaker's best July since 2007 despite a sales environment "tougher than a cheap steak," said Reid Bigland, chief executive of Chrysler's Dodge brand.

Volkswagen of America also posted a gain, reporting sales of 29,066 vehicles, a 21.7 percent increase over the same month a year earlier.

More than half of its sales volume came from one model, the Jetta compact sedan.

"July was a strong month and signaled a good start for the second half of the year," said Jonathan Browning, Volkswagen's U.S. chief executive.

"For the seventh month in a row, we significantly outpaced the industry performance," Browning said.