Summer deals, demand for SUVs and luxury vehicles keeps US auto sales hot in July

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

Summer deals and big demand for SUVs and luxury vehicles kept U.S. auto sales strong in July.

Sales of new cars and trucks were expected to rise 3 percent to nearly 1.5 million, according to car shopping site TrueCar.com.

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Fiat Chrysler's sales rose 6 percent over last July to 178,027, led by the Jeep brand with a 23 percent increase. Nissan's U.S. sales rose nearly 8 percent to 130,872.

Automakers lured buyers with summer discounts to clear out 2015 models. Toyota was offering zero-percent financing for five years on Camrys; buyers could also get zero-percent financing for six years on Ford Escapes.

Relatively low gas prices are boosting sales of trucks and SUVs. Nissan said sales of its trucks and SUVs set a July record, up 22 percent.