Hyundai Motor America's U.S. sales rose 6 percent to a July record of 66,005 units, with demand for the Santa Fe rising 48 percent and Elantra volume advancing 29 percent, CEO John Krafcik tweeted today.
Mazda's sales advanced 29 percent in July -- its biggest gain in 18 months -- on a 53 percent increase in light truck volume and a 18 percent advance in car deliveries.
Record July sales of the Forester, Outback and Impreza pushed Subaru's U.S. sales up 43 percent to 35,994 -- enough to outsell the VW brand and keep Subaru on track to set another high mark for annual U.S. volume.
"At our current pace, selling 400,000 vehicles in 2013 is certainly within reach," said Bill Cyphers, senior vice president of sales for Subaru of America.
Volkswagen posted a 3 percent decrease in sales with steady demand for the Passat and Jetta failing to make up for a lack of new products and tougher competition in the small and mid-sized sedan segments.
Jetta sales are down 2 percent for the year, with 94,684 units sold through July. Passat sales spiked 12 percent in July and are up 3 percent for the year, with 66,170 units sold.
"We're coming off some pretty strong numbers," Mark McNabb, chief operating officer of Volkswagen of America, told reporters today, referring to the brand's double-digit gains over the past few years. "We knew it would be a year of consolidated growth."
Perhaps the best news for VW was a sharp increase in the rate at which customers chose diesel, the German brand's hallmark. Nearly 30 percent of cars sold in July were equipped with TDI engines -- and in the Passat, that number was nearly 40 percent.
At Audi, sales rose 12 percent, propelled by SUV demand. Sales of the mid-sized Q5 increased 52 percent over last year and sales of the large Q7 grew by 49 percent.
Jaguar Land Rover -- benefiting from new and redesigned models -- posted a 31 percent increase in July sales, and has seen volume now rise 15 percent to 36,445 for the year. Last month, Jaguar deliveries rose 60 percent, reflecting sales of the new F-Type, while the revamped Range Rover and Evoque drove Land Rover to a 22 percent gain.
Low interest rates, widespread credit, attractive lease deals, pent-up demand, new or redesigned models and a steady rebound in the U.S. economy and housing market are fueling sales.
Many automakers also joined Chrysler in hiking incentives last month to clear inventories of 2013 models.
Large pickup trucks, crossovers and compact cars drove July's sales gains. Light truck volume rose 16 percent and car deliveries advanced 12 percent last month.
"The summer surge continues," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a research note published Tuesday. "July started with relatively weak showroom traffic through the third week. However, momentum picked up since and we expect the month to finish strong driven by a much healthier consumer sentiment."
Analysts were especially encouraged because retail sales -- those made to individual customers -- accounted for the bulk of industry volume.
Edmunds estimated fleet deliveries represented 14 percent of industry volume in July -- the lowest level of the year so far.
"Consumer confidence has a played a key role in the ongoing recovery and currently is at the highest levels seen since January 2008," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst at Kelley Blue Book. "With modest improvements in unemployment and housing expected to continue through the rest of the year, confidence likely will follow suit, driving new-car demand along with it."