CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — While down a bit from May’s torrid pace, U.S. new car sales remained robust in June as the Big Three domestic auto makers all registered healthy year-over-year growth rates, figures released Tuesday showed.
The Japanese brands also did fine, with Toyota and Nissan rebounding spectacularly from their earthquake and tsunami-related woes of last year, while Germany’s Volkswagen AG is having its best year since the early 1970s.
“Industry sales were better than expected – and way better than expected for domestics,” said Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence for Trucar.com. “A lot of that was due to fleet and rental sales, though.”
Toprak also noted that the car companies were seeing some of the “highest transaction prices in many, many years” as people are “preferring to buy more expensive, higher-optioned” vehicles.
Chrysler, controlled by Italy’s Fiat SpA (US:FIATY) (IT:F), was the first to report and said its U.S. sales rose 20% to 144,811 units — its best June results since 2007. It also marked the car maker’s 27th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.
Among the highlights, the Jeep Wrangler set a June sales record of 14,461, up 28%. The Fiat 300 car sold 6,971 units, up from 2,500 in June 2011. The Ram pickup ranked as the company’s biggest seller, moving 22,951 units in June, up from 21,362.
“June was another solid month for the Chrysler Group,” said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales and president and chief executive of the Dodge brand.
He noted that second-quarter U.S. sales jumped 24% from last year, adding in a statement: “Continuous improvement remains a key focus at Chrysler as we have steadily increased sales, improved quality, added production and created jobs.”
At Ford Motor Co. (US:F), June sales were up 7% to 207,759 vehicles, boosted by brisk demand for its Escape and Fusion marques, with the former having its best month ever. The Explorer also had a strong month with a 35% increase, while F-Series sales topped 50,000 — the best June sales performance seen in five years.
All told, Ford’s car sales rose 3% while utilities and trucks were both up 9%.
“June was a good month for Ford and a particularly strong month for vehicles like Escape, Fusion, Explorer and F-Series,” said Ken Czubay, vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service. “The new 2013 Escape also is off to a very strong start, with vehicles selling on dealer lots in less than five days — even topping the strong start of the new Explorer in 2010.”
For market leader General Motors Co. (US:GM), sales jumped 16% to 248,750 as every one of its brands showed increases. That helped boost the stock by more than 5% in the holiday-shortened Tuesday session.
Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac all posted double-digit increases in sales. Standouts included the Chevy Malibu and Buick La Crosse, up 32% and 21%, respectively.
“Across the board, June was a strong month for GM,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations. “The combination of new products, available credit, lower fuel prices and modest economic growth was a stronger influence on consumer behavior than economic and political uncertainty.”
Toyota Motor Co. (US:TM) said U.S. sales spiked 60.3% to 177,795 units, while Nissan Motor Co. (US:NSANY) said North America was up 28.2% to 92,237.
Volkswagen (US:VLKAF) continued its American comeback, with a 34% jump in sales to 38,170 units, its best June since 1973.
Among the leaders were the Passat, which cracked the 10,000 mark for the fourth month in a row.
“Selling over 200,000 vehicles in the first half of the year is a significant accomplishment,” said Jonathan Browning, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America Inc. “As we prepare for the second half of the year, we are confident that the foundations we’ve put in place will continue to bear fruit.”
You can find more and more rubber news at:
Rubber Markets News, Rubber Prices Reports, Rubber Market Analytics & Outlook Reports