U.S. auto sales pandemic recovery continues as Toyota decline slows

Hyundai even shows a year-over-year gain

DETROIT — U.S. new vehicle sales in July continued to show signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as Toyota on Monday posted its lowest sales decline since the virus outbreak slammed the sector in mid-March.

The Japanese automaker said its sales in July fell 19% versus the same month in 2019, to 169,484 units. That was Toyota's best month since before the pandemic shuttered North American production for two months and led to closed showrooms across numerous U.S. states.

The rebound in U.S. auto sales since hitting a bottom in April has seen major automakers scramble to ramp up production and boost weak inventories at dealerships, especially in states where they remained open throughout the shutdowns.

The rebound in sales, though, could be threatened by surging COVID-19 cases in southern and southwestern U.S. states, which have increased uncertainty over the U.S. economic recovery.

• Hyundai reported a year-on-year gain of 0.6% in U.S. sales for July, selling 57,677 units.

"Achieving an overall sales increase despite the ongoing pandemic is a tremendous accomplishment and speaks to the depth and quality of our product lineup and resiliency of our dealers," Hyundai's North American sales chief, Randy Parker, said in a statement.

• Kia reported overall sales down 1.7% year over year in July, with strong sales of its Telluride, Seltos and Sportage crossovers and partial-month sales of its new K5 sedan.

• Honda's U.S. sales were down 11.2% in July, down 21.8% for the year so far. 

• Volvo sales were way up — by 10.3% over July 2019, its best July in 14 years. Volvo's year-to-date sales figure improved; it's now down 10.1%. Sales of the XC40 set a record for the month.

• Mazda sales were up 3.4%, and its year-to-date figure improved to a decrease of 5.5%.

• Genesis sales in July were down 20.7%, and down 24.1% in the year to date.  

• Subaru had limited inventory, which pushed its sales down 19.7% for the month, 21.1% down for the year so far.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate for light vehicles sold in July was estimated at 14.52 million units, according to Wards Intelligence, which was above analysts' forecasts. General Motors last week said its ability to repay loans depended on a continued economic recovery and the assumption that U.S. new vehicle sales would finish the year at around 14 million units, compared to about 17.1 million vehicles last year.

The average transaction price for light vehicles was $38,378. That's up by $749 from July 2019 but down $473 from June, according to Kelley Blue Book.  



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