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New Domestic Car Sales Fall in Mid-Month

July 24, 1986|STEPHANIE DROLL | Times Staff Writer

DETROIT — American-built new car sales slipped 7.8% in mid-July despite continuation of consumerincentive programs by the major domestic manufacturers, the industry reported Wednesday.

The seven U.S. auto makers sold 177,659 cars, a daily average of 22,207, between July 11 and July 20. This compares to 216,696, or 24,077 cars a day, sold in the comparable 1985 period.

The year-to-year comparison is based on a daily selling rate since there were eight selling days in the mid-July period this year, compared to nine in 1985.

Analysts said they had expected stronger sales but warned against reading too much into a single 10-day sales report.

Programs Extended

Detroit's Big Three manufacturers, which have propped up sales by sporadically offering incentives all year, announced earlier this month that they would expand their current programs and extend them through September, when the 1987 model year cars are to be introduced. The programs were scheduled to end in early July.

"It would be a problem for the manufacturers if this period were more than an aberration," Heinbach said, "but it's too early to draw drastic conclusions."

Of the major domestic auto makers, only No. 3 Chrysler fared well, with sales up 4.1% over the year-ago period--an increase it attributed to aggressive marketing. Chrysler alone among the Big Three has not followed the lead of Japanese manufacturers in raising prices.

Seasonally adjusted, domestic new cars sold at an annual rate of 7.5 million in mid-July. That is down substantially from the 8.1-million rate for the 1985 period, not to mention the 8.8-million rate posted earlier this month.

Auto Sales

Percentage changes in auto sales for the second 10 days of July are based on daily rates rather than total sales volume. There were eight selling days in the 1986 period and nine selling days in the year-ago period.

July 11-20 July 11-20 % 10-Day 1986 1985 change GM 96,251 120,124 -9.9 Ford 47,708 56,716 -5.4 Chrysler 27,526 29,749 +4.1 AMC* 1,500 3,730 -54.6 VW U.S. 969 1,785 -38.9 Honda U.S. 3,705 3,603 +15.8 Nissan U.S. N.A. 989 -- TOTAL 177,659 216,696 -7.8 * Estimate

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