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Inside this issue
US Retail Sales Rose in July, Aided by Autos and Restaurants
GM Said to Be Boosting Production of Big SUVs, Pickups
VW's Audi Car Sales Gain 1.4 Pct in July
Deadly China Blast Disrupts World’s 10th Largest Port
Sculptor of Original ’64 Mustang Found Purpose in Clay
Top Stories
US Retail Sales Rose in July, Aided by Autos and Restaurants

Americans bought more cars, restaurant meals and building supplies in July, a rise in spending that points to steady economic growth anchored by an improving job market. Retail sales climbed 0.6 percent last month after a flat reading in June, the Commerce Department said Thursday. July's increase suggests that the combination of solid hiring and cheaper gasoline is contributing to rising consumer confidence and spending after a muted start to 2015. Greater retail sales could help boost overall economic growth because consumer spending accounts for the bulk of U.S. economic activity. "This report looks solid after a run of disappointing numbers," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Revisions in the report also led economists to project stronger overall economic growth.
Source: Associated Press
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GM Said to Be Boosting Production of Big SUVs, Pickups

General Motors is boosting production of its highly profitable large SUVs and trucks to a pace that could result in 48,000 to 60,000 additional vehicles for the 2016 model year, in a bid to capitalize on rising demand, sources told Reuters. GM's Arlington, Texas, plant that makes full-size SUVs such as the Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Suburban added Saturday overtime shifts beginning on Aug. 1, a GM spokesman confirmed Thursday. GM is also expected to boost output of pickups, other people familiar with the company's plans said, but it was not clear how that would be done.
Source: Reuters
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VW's Audi Car Sales Gain 1.4 Pct in July

Germany luxury carmaker Audi said July sales rose 1.4 percent, as a 21 percent surge in deliveries in the United States (U.S.) and robust demand in Europe helped offset a 12.5 percent slump in China when compared with the year-earlier period.  Audi, which is owned by Volkswagen said it had delivered around 146,100 cars in July. The sales drop is partially because Audi is preparing to switch to a newer generation of vehicle, the company said. Continued strong demand for sport utility vehicles helped lift deliveries of these vehicles by 68 percent in the U.S., Audi said.
Source: Reuters
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Deadly China Blast Disrupts World’s 10th Largest Port

Explosions that sent huge fireballs through China’s Tianjin port have disrupted the flow of cars, oil, iron ore and other items through the world’s 10th largest port. The blast sent shipping containers tumbling into one another, leaving them in bent, charred piles. Rows of new cars, lined up on vast lots for distribution across China, were reduced to blackened carcasses. Ships carrying oil and “hazardous products” were barred from the port Thursday, the Tianjin Maritime Safety Administration said on its official microblog. It also said vessels were not allowed to enter the central port zone, which is near the blast site. Tianjin is the 10th largest port in the world by container volume and the seventh largest in China, according to the World Shipping Council, moving more containers than the ports of Rotterdam, Hamburg and Los Angeles. It handles vast quantities of metal ore, coal, steel, cars and crude oil.
Source: The Washington Post

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Sculptor of Original ’64 Mustang Found Purpose in Clay

Giuliano Zuccato was one of six clay design modelers who crafted the original 1964 Mustang, whose original model year cars and descendants will be among this year’s Dream Cruisers. But he might never have picked up sculpting tools if not for a life-threatening illness. Zuccato immigrated from Italy to Canada in 1952, when he was 19. Shortly after, he contracted tuberculosis of the bone and was forced to spend 18 months in a full body cast, immobile except for his arms. After whittling a profile of Abraham Lincoln in a bar of soap, Zuccato’s doctors suggested he try clay modeling to pass the time. It worked. He was hooked into a career that saw him shape the first pony car — a sensation then, and popular ever since — as well as other cars such as the Ford GT that swept to victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
Source: The Detroit News
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Quotable
"Industry sales are running ahead of expectations. Sales of our full-size SUVs are very strong and we have been working to find creative ways to increase production to meet demand and rebuild our inventories."

    -- GM spokesman James Cain, commenting on the automaker boosting production of big SUVs and pickups, Reuters, Aug. 13

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