Carmakers slashed their rental fleet sales, and that cut into auto sales last month. Fred Katayama reports.
U.S. automakers slashed sales to rental-car companies in July. That put auto sales on track to slide for a fifth straight month. GM's estimates the U.S.' seasonally adjusted annual sales rate fell to 16.9 million vehicles last month, a slowdown from the 17.9 million vehicle pace in July last year. GM's own sales skidded 15 percent from a year ago. Ford's dropped 7.5 percent. And Fiat Chrysler's declined 10 percent. Shares of GM and Ford slid. Chrysler's eased. FAO Economics' Bob Brusca: SOUNDBITE: ROBERT BRUSCA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, FAO ECONOMICS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The auto sector has a lot dogging it. It's been a driving force for the economy. But I think that's over. I think it'll be OK, but it's got to settle in to a lower selling rate." Analysts say automakers have cut back fleet sales because they often generate little to no profit.