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July Car Shoppers Spend More to Give Automakers Increased Sales, Better Deals to Come

Kia is one of a few automakers who had record U.S. sales in July.

Despite inventory shortages and decreased incentive spending the past few months, most automakers experienced a sales increase in July. Compared with the same month a year ago, GM, Ford, Chrysler Group, Hyundai, Kia and Nissan all were up. Kia, Hyundai and Audi even had their best July sales ever in the U.S.

Honda and Toyota have yet to fully recover from lower inventory levels, and saw their U.S. July sales drop 25.6 and 19.7 percent compared to July 2010, respectively. Their sales declined even though Japanese auto brands “increased (incentive) spending 24.5 percent from June to July to an average of $1,990 per vehicle,” Edmunds reports. “By comparison, U.S. automakers increased spending just 4.5 percent over the same period to $2,919 per vehicle.”

Because of this boost in incentive spending from the Japanese automakers, domestic carmakers may be forced to increase the amount they spend on incentives in the next few months, Edmunds reports. This all boils down to better deals for car shoppers in the coming months.

July car shoppers weren’t frugal and loaded their new cars with options. TrueCar analysts estimate that overall transaction prices in July increased 2 percent ($582) to $29,761, compared to July 2010. “Despite continued weakness in the economy and the ongoing concern over the debt ceiling, consumers continued to purchase vehicles packed with options in July,” said Jesse Toprak, VP of Industry Trends and Insights for TrueCar.com. “Tightened inventories, lower dealer discounting and manufacturer incentives, along with a more expensive product mix resulted in the highest transaction prices we have recorded in the industry.”

After seeing the final July U.S. auto sales numbers, there’s one clear takeaway for consumers: Automakers are spending more on incentives and are trying to keep their sales momentum going. That means you should get a good deal in the next few months as they battle to gain customers. However, if you can’t wait to get a better deal, check out this month’s best car deals to see what discounts and incentives are available in August.

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