U.S. Car Sales Surge 14%

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Demand for new cars and light trucks in the U.S. jumped to 1.32 million in July from 1.15 million a year ago, Autodata Corp. reports.

The gain boosted the annualized sales rate for the month to 15.67 million units from 14.09 million last year.

Car deliveries advanced 13% to 657,400 units, led by a 22% jump (to 264,500 units) in small-car demand. Truck volume climbed 14% to 657,800 vehicles, propelled by a 30% surge (to 161,400 units) in fullsize pickup truck volume.

July sales by Detroit’s Big Three automakers rose 14% to 564,900 units, accounting for 46% of total volume. Demand grew 16% to 234,100 units at General Motors, 11% to 193,100 units at Ford and 11% to 136,300 units at Chrysler.

Asian brands posted sales of 625,100 vehicles in July, up 16% from July 2012. The advance was led by strong growth for the segment’s largest sellers: Toyota (+17% to 193,400 units), Honda (+21% to 141,400) and Nissan (+11% to 109,000).

Deliveries rose 6% to 66,000 units for Hyundai and 4% to 49,000 for its Kia affiliate.

European marques boosted combined sales 9% to 125,200 units last month in spite of a 3% decline to 35,800 units for market leader Volkswagen. Volume jumped 19% to 25,600 units at Mercedes-Benz, which surpassed rival BMW (+2% to 24,000 units) for the first time since May.