Global auto makers delivered 6.95 million vehicles in July, up 5.0% from year-ago, thanks to strong sales in North America, as well as slight increases in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.

North America sales climbed 13.0% to 1.59 million units, the largest year-on-year increase in eight months.

U.S. sales jumped 13.7% in July from prior-year, marking the 26th consecutive month of gains for the country. Canada was up 7.0% and Mexico grew 13.4%, as a fast-growing economy continued to boost consumer confidence.

North America accounted for 22.9% of global vehicle sales in the month, placing second in volume behind Asia-Pacific, where downturns in Japan and India kept growth in the region modest.

Sales in Japan fell for the third straight month in July, down 8.0% from year-ago, while India posted a 9.8% decline as consumers continue to lose confidence as the rupee continues to tumble.

A slowdown in economic growth has contributed to falling volume in China over the past five months as well. However, vehicle sales continued to grow last month, climbing 9.9% from year-ago to 1.5 million units.

Total vehicle deliveries in the Asia-Pacific region rose 2.7% to 2.88 million units, for a 41.5% share of global sales, one point less than in like-2012.

Europe’s volume climbed just 2.7% in July from year-ago to 1.55 million units, accounting for 22.3% of global vehicle sales. July was only the second month, behind April, to see a sales increase since November 2011.

Germany’s deliveries rose in July for the first time in three months, up 2.3% compared with year-ago to 281,092, marking the lowest monthly volume since February. An extra working day, compared with prior-year, may have contributed to the uptick.

Vehicle sales in France inched up 1.3%, Romania jumped 14.5% and Switzerland rose 4.3%, aided by a stabilizing economy.

However, those gains were offset largely by downturns in several large markets, including Russia, where deliveries dropped 7.4% amid an abrupt economic slowdown.

South America was the only region to post a decline in July, down 0.9% from prior-year to 535,000 units. Sales increases in Argentina, up 22.2%; Chile, up 18.9%; and Uruguay, up 11.6%; were negated by declines in Brazil, down 6.2%; Colombia, down 2.7%; and Venezuela, down 21.6%.

Although the drop in Brazil’s vehicle deliveries last month was less than the 9.8% decline in June, July’s figures show continued turmoil in the region’s leading market, where slowing economic growth and shaky consumer confidence have dampened sales.

Through July, 49.8 million vehicles were sold worldwide, up 3.3% from like-2012.

hrowe@wardsauto.com