GM Says July Sales Look Bleak

Only halfway through the month, CEO Fritz Henderson said July sales for General Motors appear to be weaker than the same month last year.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- General Motors Corp. CEO Fritz Henderson on Tuesday said July sales for the automaker appear to be weaker than the same month last year.

U.S. sales for the industry this year have been running below a 10 million annual rate each month.

Halfway through this month, July seems like it's below a 10 million annual selling rate, Henderson said, addressing reporters at an event to show off the redesigned new Buick LaCrosse sedan.

GM is counting on the LaCrosse to help bring younger buyers back to the Buick brand. The average age of the current LaCrosse buyer is around 70, and GM is hoping to lower that into the 50s with a product that is far more competitive with similar sized models from Lexus and Acura.

The LaCrosse, on midsize car underpinnings but stretched into the large car category, is the first new GM vehicle to be introduced after the automaker's 40-day stay in bankruptcy protection, which ended last week. It is due in showrooms in about two weeks.

Henderson said a lot of the government's economic stimulus package has yet to take effect, so he's optimistic about a second half recovery for auto sales.

Henderson said GM's inventory is relatively low because many of its factories were shut down during the summer. Now the company is starting to get "pull" from dealers ordering new vehicles.

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