GM and Ford have been losing ground to Japanese automakers -- which are making a strong comeback from last year's earthquake.

GM says its July sales are down 6 percent from a year earlier, while Ford's sales slipped 4 percent.

By contrast, Honda saw a 45-percent jump, while Toyota posted a 26-percent gain.

Chrysler fared better than its American rivals, notching its best July in five years. The 13-percent increase in sales was led by strong demand for the Ram pickup and the Chrysler 200 sedan.

In the first half of this year, sales of new cars and trucks ran at an annual pace of just over 14 million -- the industry's best performance in five years -- as buyers snapped up everything from small cars to pickups. The only setback came in May, when sales slowed as the stock market dropped.


(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)