Chrysler sales rise 13 percent in July

DETROIT - Chrysler's U.S. sales rose 13 percent in July on demand for Ram pickups, a sign that car and truck sales will remain strong despite worries about the economy.

The company, which was the first to report sales on Wednesday, said it sold more than 126,000 cars and trucks — its best July in five years.

Chrysler's results were just above expectations for overall industry growth of about 11 percent. Summer clearance deals likely trump buyers' concerns about the economy last month.

Toyota, Honda and Nissan are also expected to do well. Analysts predict all three Japanese automakers will report big gains over July of last year, when their supplies were still limited by earthquake damage in Japan.

Analysts expected that good deals helped buyers overlook negatives such as stagnant hiring and the financial crisis in Europe.

Auto buying site estimates Volkswagen's incentive spending was up 38 percent last month. Volkswagen was offering zero percent financing for five years on all non-diesel 2012 models. Nissan's spending was also up 22 percent to $3,205, the highest level among the eight largest automakers. Nissan was offering up to $3,400 off the outgoing Altima sedan as the new version hits the market.

At Chrysler, sales of its best-selling Ram pickup rose 17 percent in July as home building increased. Sales of the 200 jumped 43 percent to more than 9,000.

Overall, Chrysler said it sold more than 126,000 cars and trucks last month, including nearly 800 Dodge Darts, a key new compact car for the company.

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