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Old 08-02-2007, 01:00 PM
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Arrow Nissan sales edge higher in July; Altima sales help

DETROIT ??” Nissan??™s monthly sales turned into a bright spot today with strong sales for its Altima coupe and an overall sales gain in July while other auto manufacturers??™ numbers took a dive across the industry due to high gas prices and reluctant consumers.

Nissan Motor Co. was the only major automaker to report a sales increase for the month, of 1.7 percent, because of the addition of the subcompact Versa and the Altima coupe to its lineup. Nissan sales were up 4.2 percent for the year.

General Motors reporting a 22.3 percent decline and Ford sales down 19.1 percent, automakers said Wednesday. ???This is certainly not the way we wanted to start the summer selling season,??? said Paul Ballew, GM's executive director of global market and industry analysis.

Toyota Motor Corp. sold more vehicles than Ford Motor Co. in July, but the Japanese automaker's U.S. sales still were down 7.4 percent after record-setting sales a year ago.

Other news was dismal. Ford??™s U.S. sales were down 12.2 percent for the year. Part of the decline came from cuts in sales to rental car companies, according to Ford??™s top sales analyst, George Pipas. Ford slashed rental sales by 57 percent, or 14,000 vehicles, in July as part of a broader effort to reduce rental sales by 30 percent in 2007.

Honda Motor Co. said its U.S. sales were down 7 percent for the month, including a 9.7 percent drop in truck sales.

DaimlerChrysler AG said its U.S. sales fell 9.1 percent in July. Chrysler Group said sales were down 8.4 percent for the month, while Mercedes-Benz said U.S. sales fell 13.9 percent from the same month a year ago.

Erich Merkle, vice president of forecasting for auto consulting company IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich., said with high gas prices and rising rates on adjustable rate mortgages and home equity loans, consumers simply have less money to buy cars.

???You??™ve got a consumer right now that??™s really being stretched,??? Merkle said. ???In many cases debt levels are incredibly high.???

Source: [url=http://www.dicksonherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070801/BUSINESS01/70801045]Dickson Herald[/url]
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