DETROIT - Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler have released July sales reports.

Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury dealers reported 118,197 retail sales in July, up 9 percent versus a year ago, according to the automaker. Total sales (including fleet customer deliveries) were 158,838, up 2 percent versus last year. Compared to a year ago, Ford Escape sales experienced the highest increase, up 94 percent.

Compared to July 2008 sales by brand, Ford-brand vehicles experienced the least amount of change last month, with July 2009 sales only 2.9 percent higher than same time last year. Volvo brand vehicles reported the most growth at a 25.7-percent increase versus July 2008.

General Motors dealers in the U.S. delivered 189,443 total vehicles in July, resulting in a month-over-month retail sales increase, according to the automaker. The July total, when compared with a strong July last year and lower fleet sales this year, was down 19 percent compared to a year ago. Fleet sales declined 47 percent, while retail sales were down 9 percent.

Compared to July 2008, GM overall sales declined 45,741 vehicles, driven largely by a planned reduction in fleet sales of 30,423 vehicles (down 47 percent). This drop in fleet sales was a direct result of a strategic decision to tightly control production and inventories that better enable GM dealers to reduce their stock of vehicles to align with market demand, GM reported.

Chrysler Group LLC reported total U.S. sales for July 2009 of 88,900 units, an increase of 30 percent versus June 2009. Compared to the same time period in 2008, sales decreased 9 percent. Retail sales for July 2009 were 76,693 units. Fleet sales were not specified in the report.