The auto industry came off a June that saw the best sales rate since 2007, and the momentum appears to have run through July. Toyota had its best July since 2008; GM had its best July since 2007. Chrysler and Ford had their best July since 2006. Honda sales, up 20.9%, represented the best July since 2006. And Nissan and Hyundai-Kia had their best July ever. With the top seven automakers reporting numbers, sales are up 13.6%.
A gallon of regular unleaded gained 15 cents in July, according to AAA, but small, fuel-efficient cars had a mixed month. The outgoing Corolla stayed flat, but rival Honda Civic gained nearly 30%. The Toyota Prius hybrid — ever the indicator of shoppers’ flight to fuel efficiency — gained a stunning 40% over an already-strong July 2012, mostly on the strength of the original Prius, which had a slight incentives uptick versus a year ago. The Chevrolet Cruze, meanwhile, piled on 70.2% in sales versus a slow July 2012 (sales were down 39.3% that month) thanks to higher year-over-year incentives on the compact sedan — and despite much lower dealer supply. The Ford Focus, meanwhile, stayed flat despite bigger incentives this year.