U.S. auto sales dropped in July as weakness in the housing market sapped demand, increasing pressure on the embattled Detroit-based automakers and hitting Toyota Motor with its first sales decline in almost three years.
General Motorsposted a drop in sales of nearly 19 percent, a downturn that underscored the risks for the No. 1 U.S. automaker a day after it surprised Wall Street by posting stronger-than-expected second quarter results.
Toyota Motor on Wednesday reported that its U.S. July sales slipped 3.5 percent. It was the first year-over-year sales decline for the Japanese manufacturer since August 2004, according to a company spokeswoman.
"The industry stumbled this month, on continued housing weakness," Jim Lentz, Toyota's executive vice president of North American sales, said in a statement. "Though Toyota didn't match last July's record-setting sales, heightened demand for hybrids and crossovers is reassuring."