* Platinum group metals slide on poor results from carmakers
* Traders await U.S. car sales data later on Friday
* Gold, silver recover earlier losses as oil rises
(Recasts gold comment, updates prices)
By Jan Harvey
LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Platinum slid nearly 7 percent and palladium by more than 6 percent on Friday as a spate of poor results from the automotive sector and firmer oil prices triggered a sell-off.
Gold recovered earlier losses, however, as oil prices rose, boosting interest in commodities and fuelling fears over inflation, and as the dollar steadied.
Spot platinum XPT= was down at $1,644.50/1,664.50 an ounce at 1507 GMT from $1,749.50/1,769.50 late in New York on Thursday. Earlier it touched a session low of $1,629.00, its weakest level since January 25.
Spot palladium XPD= fell to $363.50/371.50 an ounce from $379.50/387.50 on Thursday. It touched a seven-month low of $356.00 earlier in the session.
“Everybody expects car demand to be very low and the higher oil price will dampen it further,” said Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg.
Fears over the health of carmakers, which consume around 50 percent of the world's platinum each year, were fuelled after General Motors Corp GM.N posted a $15.5 billion quarterly loss on Friday.
The company’s North American sales dropped by 20 percent and plunging prices for SUVs prompted deep charges for its auto finance business. [ID:nN01288721]
Traders are awaiting U.S. car sales data for July, due later in the session.
Figures from Spain released Friday showed its car sales fell 27.5 percent in July, while French sales also declined. [ID:nMDT005476]
Gold recovered earlier losses, as oil prices climbed almost $3 a barrel and as the dollar steadied, giving up earlier gains, in the wake of the closely watched monthly non-farm payrolls data.
A stronger dollar tends to pressure bullion, as it crimps buying of the precious metals as an alternative investment. [ID:nN01445843]
Oil prices bounced higher on Friday afternoon, gaining more than $3 a barrel, led by a surge in gasoline futures and amid supply fears fuelled by tensions in the Middle East. [ID:nSP263767]
Gold XAU= was at $913.40/914.40 an ounce against $913.45/914.65 an ounce on Thursday, when it had a volatile session, trading in a wide $20 range.
Silver XAG= was lower at $17.65/17.71 an ounce from $17.71/17.77. (Reporting by Jan Harvey; Additional reporting by Pratima Desai; Editing by Nigel Hunt)