Toyota, Ford, Nissan and Chrysler all saw double-digit sales gains and General Motors' sales were up 9 percent over last July. Honda and Volkswagen saw declines.
US manufacturing expanded for the 14th straight month in July in a good sign for the overall economy.
A measure of U.S. consumer confidence slipped in July although it remained at levels signaling further gains in consumer spending.
U.S. construction spending fell in June by the largest amount in more than three years as housing, non-residential construction and government spending all weakened.
More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, but jobless claims remain at pre-recession levels.
U.S. stocks slumped Thursday as investors reacted to disappointing corporate earnings reports and assessed the implications of the approaching end to economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
Target is bringing in an outsider as its CEO for the first time as the retailer fights to redefine itself to American shoppers.
Average U.S. mortgage rates declined slightly this week, hovering near their lows for the year.
In an election-year rebuttal to Republicans, President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Thursday requiring federal contractors to give their workers more rights in labor disputes.