North American auto makers built 1,029,745 light vehicles in July, up 1.1% from year-ago and the best-ever result for the month.

The record comes as several plants eliminated or reduced their traditionally scheduled summer shutdowns to maintain inventory levels, as sales in the region, especially the U.S., continued their steady rise.

Several facilities already are working regularly above straight-time capacity.

Light-truck builds set a July record with 586,401 units, up 10.8% from 529,426 in like-2012. Car production declined 9.3% for the month but rose 3.1% in the year’s first seven months.

The Detroit Three manufactured 548,771 LVs in July. Ford’s output climbed 9.0% from year-ago to 185,774 units, while Chrysler was down 0.5% to 151,051. WardsAuto estimates General Motors built 211,946 vehicles, up 1.4% from prior-year.

U.S. July production inched up 0.2% from year-ago to 652,700 units. A total of 6,189,718 LVs were built through the first seven months, up 5.2% from year-ago.

Canada produced 138,988 units in July, up 7.3% from like-2012. Year-to-date production was down 5.5% to 1,399,352. Mexico built 238,057 cars and light trucks in the month, up 0.3% from prior-year. Output for January-July climbed 4.7% to 1,721,195.

Through the first seven months, North American plants produced 9,250,265 LVs, up 3.4% from year-ago.

eberger@wardsauto.com