Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said Monday that its U.S. auto sales rose 6.2% in July, as continued strength in its Jeep and Chrysler brands helped the auto maker extend its streak of monthly sales gain to 64 months. Fiat Chrysler said it sold 178,027 units in July, up from 167,667 a year ago. That was above the 175,950 vehicles Edmunds.com had forecast Fiat Chrysler would sell. Fiat Chrysler said the month represented its best July sales since 2005. U.S. auto sales have been pushing higher, helped by continued demand for SUVs and trucks. A strong labor market, low-interest rates and deals from auto makers continue to fuel the market for new vehicles. Meanwhile, prices continue to climb. Automotive information provider Kelley Blue Book said transaction prices of new light vehicles in July rose 2.6% from a year earlier to $33,453. For Fiat Chrysler's Jeep brand, sales grew 23% to 73,216 vehicles, driven by double-digit increases in Patriot, Wrangler and Cherokee sales. Chrysler sales jumped 10%, boosted by sales of the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan, which grew 85% over the prior year. Dodge brand sales fell 13% on declines in Avenger, Caravan and Dart vehicles. Overall, both truck and car sales gained 6% for the month. Fiat Chrysler projected total industry sales in the U.S. to be a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 17.8 million units for July. In June, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV scored a victory, selling more light vehicles at dealers than its larger rival Ford Motor Co. But its ability to outpace Ford was propped up by a much deeper reliance on sales incentives.
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