GM, Ford, Chrysler July Auto Sales Fall Short of Forecasts

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David Zalubowski/AP
By Ben Klayman and Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT -- General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all reported disappointing U.S. auto sales in July, hurt by low inventory of some popular car models, including Ford's Fusion midsize sedan.

Looking at the results, RBC Capital Markets analyst Joe Spak said the annual sales rate for July would be around 15.4 million vehicles, below analysts' average forecast of 15.8 million.

All three major U.S. automakers reported strong truck sales amid a boom in the housing and oil industries. But car sales fell short of estimates.

During a conference call, Ford's U.S. sales analyst, Erich Merkle, said low supply of the Fusion and other models "muted" the company's sales increase during the month. Ford also said supply of the Focus compact car grew tighter in July.

General Motors (GM) sold 234,071 cars and trucks in July, up 16 percent from a year ago. Analysts, on average, expected the largest U.S. automaker to post sales of 243,134. GM forecast the industry's annual sales rate in July would be around 15.7 million.

Ford (F), the No. 2 U.S. automaker, said its U.S. sales last month totaled 193,715 vehicles, up 11 percent from a year ago. Analysts had expected 200,000. Chrysler, a unit of Italy's Fiat SpA, sold 140,102 vehicles in July. Analysts had expected, on average, 146,275.
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Ford's miss stemmed from slower sales of two key models that the company revamped last year. Fusion sales fell 12 percent in July, while sales of the Escape crossover were up just 3.6 percent, compared with a sales increase of 20.3 percent for the Escape in the January-July period.

Focus sales were up 1.9 percent in July. Ford Explorer sales were up 12.6 percent, compared with a jump of 24.1 percent over the first seven months of the year.

"We're working really, really hard to expand the capacity as needed," said Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service. He also said the company is working to boost production of the Explorer and Focus.

Industry sales in July were led by surging demand for full-size pickup trucks. July was expected to be the second-best sales month of the year, after June's annual sales rate of 16 million.

Strong demand for pickups is particularly good news for U.S. automakers, which dominate that sector and reap large profits from those vehicles. Chrysler launched a new version of its Ram pickup last fall, while GM started selling its redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks in June.

Chrysler's Ram truck sales gained 31 percent in July. Sales of the Ford F-Series trucks were up 22.6 percent. GM said its full-size pickup truck sales were up 44 percent, the best since July 2007.

Nissan said its U.S. sales in July rose 10.9 percent to 109,041 vehicles, below the 111,115 expected by five analyst polled by Reuters. Volkswagen said its July U.S. auto sales fell 3.3 percent.

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The Best And Worst Vehicles For Under $30,000
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GM, Ford, Chrysler July Auto Sales Fall Short of Forecasts

By Michael Zak | AOL Autos

A recent Interest.com study looked at the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States to see which median-income households in those respective areas can afford to purchase a new car, the average price of which was $30,550 in 2012, according to TrueCar. The study found that in only one city can residents actually afford a car with this sticker price -- Washington, D.C.

Households with an average income in Washington, D.C. can afford a payment of up to $628, which would allow for purchase of a $31,940 vehicle. The next closest city, San Francisco, can only afford $537 per month, equating to a $26,786.

While it's not news that Americans like to buy things that they can't afford, the data is a little surprising given how many great cars there are out there for well under $30,000. Solid hybrids, CUVs, sedans and sports cars can all be had for less than this.

We've racked our brains and come up with 5 of the best cars that are cheaper than the average car's purchase price. These are affordable, versatile, fun and fuel efficient. Of course, there are some stinkers in this price range, as well, so we've included 5 vehicles we think you should avoid.

Subaru BRZ

MSRP: $25,495 - $27,495
Invoice: $24,327 - $26,112
Fuel Economy: 22 mpg City, 30 mpg Highway

The Subaru BRZ proves that driving bliss doesn't have to cost a fortune. The rear-wheel drive sports coupe is one of the most engaging vehicles on the road today, with utterly superb dynamics and looks. The best part? You can have one for $25,495.

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Volkswagen Golf

MSRP: $18,095 - $25,200
Invoice: $17,371 - $24,192
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg City, 33 mpg Highway

Although the redesigned 2014 version of this handsome hatch will be on sale in the near future, the current generation is still worth buying. It's fuel efficient, fun and surprisingly versatile. Starting at less than $20,000, the Golf is also quite affordable.

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Toyota Prius v

MSRP: $26,650 - $30,295
Invoice: $24,809 - $28,202
Fuel Economy: 44 mpg City, 40 mpg Highway

The Toyota Pirus v is essentially a bigger version of the popular Prius hybrid. This hatchback acheives stellar fuel economy while allowing for transport of numerous people and all of their stuff. Starting at $26,650, you can have all the benefits of a versatile hybrid for an agreeable price.

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Mazda CX-5

MSRP: $20,995 - $28,595
Invoice: $20,396 - $27,771
Fuel Economy: 26 mpg City, 35 mpg Highway

The Mazda CX-5 is one of our favorite crossovers here at AOL Autos even when taking more expensive ones into account. Remarkably fun to drive, fuel efficient and starting at a low price, there's a lot to love about this agile utility vehicle.

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MSRP: $16,695 - $21,115
Invoice: $16,208 - $20,218
Fuel Economy: 28 mpg City, 38 mpg Highway

This small sedan continue to be the darling of both critics and consumers nationwide. Available with tons of standard features, great looks and sweet fuel economy, the Elantra is one of the best cars on the planet right now.

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MSRP: $18,995 - $32,820
Invoice: $18,770 - $31,334
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg City, 29 mpg Highway

The 200 is a holdover from when Chrysler was owned by Daimler and then private equity-firm Cerberus Capital. It's not that this car is awful, especially since the new Chrysler, managed by Fiat, made a series of improvements. It's that the other cars in this category are so good, and much better designed and engineered.

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MSRP: $18,725 - $21,815
Invoice: $17,789 - $20,725
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg City, 31 mpg Highway

The Scion tC is intended to be a sporty coupe. The problem? It's not sporty. At all. In fact, the tC finds itself on the Consumer Reports list of the least fun cars to drive and we're inclined to agree with that assessment.

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MSRP: $18,995 - $30,795
Invoice: $18,800 - $29,276
Fuel Economy: 19 mpg City, 26 mpg Highway

Short on features and with pretty poor driving dynamics, the Dodge Journey is one you should skip if you're shopping for a sub-$30,000 crossover. We're looking forward to Dodge's next attempt.

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MSRP: $25,900 - $29,200
Invoice: $24,452 - $27,507
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg City, 35 mpg Highway

Don't be fooled by the badge. This is not really a luxury car. With uninspired driving dynamics and a lackluster interior, you should pass on the ILX even though its low sticker price seems very tempting.

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MSRP: $12,490 - $17,890
Invoice: $11,616 - $16,638
Fuel Economy: 34 mpg City, 38 mpg Highway

The idea of the smart fortwo is great. It's the execution that's the problem. The fortwo is loud, terrible to drive and really isn't all that fuel efficient, considering its size. There are way better options between $10,000 and $20,000.

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