Auto Sales

On Wednesday, U.S. auto makers released their July sales figures with one of the Big Three faring better than its other two brethren.  For  General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) the numbers weren’t so great while Chrysler came out as the winner.

According to the Los Angeles Times’ Jerry Hirsch, automakers could see annual sales of approximately 14 million vehicles. Analysts predict a steady industry against the backdrop of weak consumer confidence, lame job growth and economic uncertainty from Europe’s debt crisis.

Jesse Toprak, a TrueCar.com analyst said via the LA Times, “The market is stuck in second gear. It is not bad, but it is not phenomenal.

So what were the July numbers?

GM Has Weak Numbers, Optimistic About China

GM sold 201,237 vehicles in July, down 6.4 percent from the previous year. Sales have been affected by a sales decline in the automaker’s Chevrolet passenger cars: the Cruze compact dropped 39 percent with the Malibu family sedan sales dove 37 percent.

The company has also seen less purchases by rental car companies, contributing to July’s weak numbers.

But the company isn’t all doom and gloom as it disclosed its faith in the Chinese market this spring.

Back in April, the company announced plans to expand its well-known Cadillacs in China. GM CEO Dan Akerson said the company would increase its China dealership network by about 600 in 2012 and almost double its production capacity even with the slowing growth in sales.

At the time, Akerson said via ValueWalk, “We will expand our dealer network to 3,500 stores from the 2,900 that we ended up with in 2011. We fundamentally believe in the strength of the Chinese market.”

GM also said that it would annually introduce a new model from its luxury Cadillac unit in China. The company is looking to increase sales from 2011’s figure of 30,000 to 100,000 in 2016.

A clearer picture of GM’s health will come in Thursday’s second quarter earnings report on Thursday.

Ford’s Numbers Also Fall

Ford also saw a decline in its July sales numbers with a drop of 3.8 percent to 173,966 vehicles. Part of this fall could be attributed to discontinued models in the last year. This includes the Ranger pickup truck and the Crown Victoria sedan.

The winner for the July period was Chrysler with its sales increase  of 13 percent to 126,089 vehicles; this represented the company’s best July sales numbers since 2007, reported the L.A. Times.

Rebecca Lindland, an IHS Automotive analyst, said via Bloomberg that GM and Ford have “more of a Chrysler problem than Honda and Toyota. People are responding to their ad campaigns, their new products that they see in the market place.”

As for Toyota Motor Corp.’s July sales number, they increased 26.1 percent in the U.S. to 164,898 vehicles. Nissan North America reported U.S. sales increased 16.2 percent to 98,341 vehicles while Volkswagen reported as 27.3 percent jump to 37,014 vehicles.

A small rise is still a rise as Hyundai Motor’s U.S. auto sales increased 4 percent to 62,021 vehicles.