DETROIT -- Sales of new cars and trucks rebounded in July from anemic sales the month before, even as the nation's two largest automakers, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., reported weaker year-over-year results.
GM and Ford continued to lose market share to Asian rivals, however.
Number one GM, coming off a double-digit sales drop in June, posted its best sales month of the year, helped by aggressive but costly consumer incentives. Number two Ford also had a solid month, but its overall results came in below year-ago results for the fifth month this year.
Among July's big winners were DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group, Nissan Motor Co., and Toyota Motor Corp. Toyota brands outsold those from Chrysler by more than 10,587, according to Autodata Corp. Still, Chrysler's business was up 2.35 percent last month on a 22 percent surge in car sales. Chrysler has posted a year-over-year sales increase in nine of the past 10 months.
Chrysler's sales have been buoyed by the new Chrysler 300, a uniquely styled sedan that's become a favorite among baby boomers and rap stars alike. The automaker sold 12,915 300s in July, up from 11,300 in June.
Nissan's US arm recorded its best month ever, and Toyota's American division had its best-ever July. Asian automakers have grown their US business by 7.3 percent in the first seven months of the year, while Detroit's Big Three were down 1.4 percent.
Overall, the US industry bounced back from June, even though total sales were down slightly less than 1 percent from a strong, incentives-driven month a year earlier.
GM, the world's largest automaker, said its car sales fell 4 percent last month and truck sales declined 3 percent. The result was a sales total down 3.4 percent from an exceptionally strong month a year ago. The company's GMC brand posted record sales for July.
GM sold 451,505 vehicles in the month, the most for any month this year.
Nissan's July results rose 31 percent; Toyota said total sales were up 13.6 percent from a year earlier. Ford said sales of its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands were off 7.5 percent.