USA auto sales fall as makers cut rental sales

Newly named Ford Motor Company president and CEO James Hackett answers questions during a press conference at Ford Motor World Headquarters in Dearborn Michigan U.S

General Motors Co said on Tuesday it sold 25,852 vehicles in July in Canada, up 22 percent from a year earlier - a striking contrast to the company's performance in its home market. Fiat Chrysler said sales dropped 10 percent.

After seven years of USA auto sales growth, this year's persistent slump - and anxiety over upheavals from electrification, autonomy and mobility services - has investors shunning automakers as benchmark stock indexes graze record highs.

"Auto sales have peaked, they peaked nearly six months ago, and they probably don't drive the consumption that much anymore", Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at Oppenheimerfunds Inc., said on Bloomberg Television.

For GM, sales dropped 15 percent.

GM said sales to U.S. commercial vehicle fleets rose by 40 percent in July to 17,300 vehicles, and noted that commercial fleet sales can be as profitable as retail sales. Toyota, however, was able to sell more, reporting a 3.6 percent sales gain.

GM and other automakers are expected to report total United States auto and truck sales for July later this morning. The projected rate, which is adjusted for seasonal trends, would be down from 17.9 million a year earlier, though it alsowould be the fastest rate since February.

GM gained little ground in its effort to reduce inventories of unsold vehicles.

Ford said in July that sales fell by 7.5%, but inventory was reduced from 79 days at the end of June to 77 at the end of July. Car-shopping site Edmunds.com said the average price paid for a new vehicle in July was $34,558, 2% higher than the same month a year ago.

One bright spot in the month likely was the full-size pickup segment. General Motors Co fell about 3.5 percent and Ford Motor Co slid about 2.5 percent.

Sales of mid-size cars are expected to fall 14.5 percent in July, compared to a year ago, and compact sedans to fall 10.6 percent, USA Today reported, citing Kelley Blue Book.

But vehicle sales are plummeting, hurt by low gas prices and changing tastes.

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