Auto sales slide again in July

The future of cars: Self-driving and electric
The future of cars: Self-driving and electric

July was another tough month for U.S. automakers.

Ford (F)'s sales dropped 7.5% last month compared to 2016, while Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) posted a 10% decline and General Motors (GM) reported a 15% decrease.

U.S. vehicle sales have trailed behind 2016 levels every month this year, but it's a tough comparison since last year's car sales hit record highs.

If the declines continue, this will be the first year since 2009 that sales are down across the industry.

One bright spot: the sales at Toyota (TM), the third largest seller of vehicles in the Unites States. They climbed 3.6% compared to 2016.

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Other Asian carmakers didn't fare as well. Nissan saw a 3% decline, while Honda (HMC) reported a 1.2% drop.

But it's not all bad news -- trucks and crossovers are actually selling extremely well.

"SUVs are up, cars continue to decline, and sales are clearly done growing at breakneck speeds," said Akshay Anand, executive analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

Toyota said that its RAV4 posted its best month of sales ever (more than 41,000 were purchased). GM said crossover vehicles and trucks accounted for 80% of July sales. And Ford has sold a record number of SUVs so far this year.

There's good reason for that trend.

Gas prices remain low, which helps boost the sales of larger models. SUVs have also become more appealing as both their safety and fuel economy have improved.

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