US auto sales strong in July on SUV, luxury demand

DETROIT (AP) — Summer deals and big demand for SUVs and luxury vehicles kept U.S. auto sales strong in July.

Sales of new cars and trucks were expected to rise 3 percent to nearly 1.5 million, according to car shopping site TrueCar.com.

Fiat Chrysler’s sales rose 6 percent over last July to 178,027, led by the Jeep brand with a 23 percent increase. Nissan’s U.S. sales rose nearly 8 percent to 130,872.

Automakers lured buyers with summer discounts to clear out 2015 models. Toyota was offering zero-percent financing for five years on Camrys; buyers could also get zero-percent financing for six years on Ford Escapes.

Relatively low gas prices are boosting sales of trucks and SUVs. Nissan said sales of its trucks and SUVs set a July record, up 22 percent.

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