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Ford July U.S. New Vehicle Sales Fell 3.8% on Fewer Fleet Sales

By Melodie Warner Ford Motor Co.'s (F) U.S. new-vehicle sales fell 3.8% in July from a year earlier, due in part to lower fleet sales. Results fell short of expectations from car-shopping website Edmunds.com. Edmunds had projected Ford's July sales would decline 2.5% on the year. Broadly, U.S. new auto sales for July are expected to climb 10% from a year earlier and fall 9.2% from the prior month, according to Edmunds. Strong sales of the Ford brand have helped the auto maker's results in recent months. But Ford reported last week its second-quarter earnings fell 57% as its overseas operations and a higher tax rate held back strong results from North America. The auto maker also lowered its full-year profit forecast as well as its budget for capital spending. Ford said it sold 173,966 vehicles during July in the U.S., down from 180,865 a year ago and 16% below June's total of 207,759. Fleet sales were down 16%, while retail sales were up 2%. The Ford brand, the company's largest, saw a 3.5% sales decline, while Lincoln brand sales dropped 11%. Company-wide, July car sales climbed 1.8% as truck sales fell 3.8%. Utility-vehicle sales were down 3.7%. Ford Fusion sales grew 21% in July, while sales of its best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-Series, edged up 0.4%. July had 24 sales days, while the year-ago month had 26 sales days. Earlier Wednesday, Chrysler Group LLC reported its U.S. auto sales rose 13% in July as Chrysler 200 and Chrysler 300 sedans drove its namesake line's double-digit sales increase. Other major auto makers are expected to report their July U.S. sales results later Wednesday. Write to Melodie Warner at melodie.warner@dowjones.com Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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