June U.S. Auto Sales Led by Demand for Replacement Vehicles and Pickups

Customer and Salesperson at Dealership shutterstock_52838524U.S. new-vehicle sales in June were bolstered by pent-up demand and the need for owners to replace older vehicles, as well as easier access to credit and a continuing surge in demand for large pickups, partly due to improvements in commercial sectors, such as in housing construction.

Automakers also report that they sold more smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles in June—sub-compact, compact cars and more compact crossovers (CUVs)—than a year ago, which may be partly due to sustained higher prices at the gas pump, which are averaging $3.48 per gallon this week across the country vs. $3.33 a year ago, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

In the latest update, J.D. Power and its strategic partner LMC Automotive said the month’s sales climbed 13.4% from a year ago on a selling-day adjusted basis* to 1.4 million unit sales, which translates to a stronger-than-anticipated 15.9 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual selling pace. A number of automakers said that their sales have hit higher sales levels than during the past five and even six years.

BMW, Ford, Nissan and Subaru Stand Out in June

Among multi-franchise automakers, BMW Group, Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Group posted some of the best year-over-year sales gains. Among the independents, Subaru and Mazda also posted double-digit gains with Subaru leading all brands with a 42% increase from a year ago.

Premium automaker BMW Group reported a 21% improvement in June from a year ago, with BMW brand deliveries climbing nearly 25% on an unadjusted basis for a record June performance. Mini sales rose nearly 10% for a June record. BMW’s best-selling 3 Series sales surged 62% from a year ago. The 6 Series and 7 Series were also strong performers.

FordFiesta2Ford said it had its best June sales since 2006. Sales improved by 13% on an unadjusted basis, although Lincoln sales dipped slightly in spite of strong deliveries for the new MKZ. Ford’s small cars led the pace—Fiesta, Focus and C-Max combined sales were up by 39% from a year ago. Escape posted its best-ever monthly sales—28,694 units. Ford’s F-Series also posted an above-industry sales gain—deliveries rose 24%.

Nissan Group said it experienced it’s best-ever June in the U.S. market and the company outpaced major Japanese rivals Toyota and Honda Groups. Sales of Nissan’s best-selling Altima midsize sedan were up by 23% and sales of the all-electric LEAF reached 2,225 units. Sales of the new Pathfinder were up by more than 200% and the compact Rogue set a new June record. Nissan’s Infiniti premium brand experienced a setback—sales were down by more than 12%, possibly due to the changeover from the G-Series model to the launch of its successor, the all-new Q50.

Chrysler Reports Best June Sales in Six Years

2013 Jeep Wrangler RubiconChrysler Group celebrated its best June sales total in six years. Deliveries improved by more than 8%; Ram led the charge with a 24% gain followed by Dodge Division’s 12% increase. Jeep, Chrysler and Fiat brands also sold more new vehicles in June than a year ago. Jeep Grand Cherokee deliveries were up 33% from a year ago, while Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Challenger and Dodge Dart posted their best sales for the month of June.

General Motors posted a 6.5% gain, and said June deliveries were the highest for any month since September 2008. All GM brands except Buick posted increases. Cadillac sales surged 15% and Chevrolet appreciated a 6.4% gain due to the strength of Cruze and Sonic compacts in addition to its large pickup trucks. Silverado sales climbed 29% from last year and more than 6,000 all-new 2014 crew cab models were delivered in June. GMC Sierra sales rose by one-third. Incentives helped Volt plug-in hybrid (PHEV) deliveries rise by more than one-half.

Toyota Says One of Every Five Vehicles Sold is a Camry

13-Toyota-Rav4-01Toyota Group sales climbed by nearly 10% on an unadjusted basis and was up 14% when selling-day adjusted. Camry, the best-selling car in America, topped 35,000 unit sales in June. Toyota points out that nearly 1 of every 5 vehicles it sells is a Camry. Sales of the redesigned Avalon nearly tripled. Lexus deliveries continued to improve—up nearly 7% unadjusted and up nearly 11% on a selling-day adjusted basis. Toyota’s total hybrid sales were up 19% in June and Prius family deliveries rose 10% from a year ago. Only Scion posted a major decline—sales were down nearly 22% on an adjusted basis. The best-performing truck in Toyota’s lineup was the RAV4, which posted a 41% gain on an adjusted basis.

Honda Group sales also rose nearly 10% from a year ago, even with a decline from its premium Acura brand. Honda Division, which was up nearly 17% on a selling-day adjusted basis, posted sales records for the CR-V, Pilot and for the sub-compact Fit. Odyssey minivan sales were up by 26%. Honda also sold more than 30,000 Accords in June and Civic was up 8% and nearly matched Accord in June sales (29,724 unit sales). Although Acura faltered by 7%, its RDX continued to post above-industry gains—up 30%.

Hyundai reports that its sales edged up 2% on an unadjusted basis, which still was a record for June, and noted that Elantra deliveries soared 26% from a year ago. Sonata sales also increased from a year ago. Kia posted a 2% dip, which on a selling-day basis meant that the South Korean automaker’s sales were flat.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand posted a near 10% increase in June sales with strong performances for the C-Class and M-Class model lines, although its Sprinter van sales were down 8% from a year ago. Smart sales also fell more than 20% from a year ago.

Among other European automakers, Volkswagen Group posted a small 3% dip in sales from a year ago. However, when adjusted for one less selling day, deliveries were basically flat. June was the best sales month for the Passat and the redesigned Beetle celebrated its best June since 2006. VW also reported its best sales ever for models equipped with TDI Clean Diesel engines in the U.S. market. The group’s Porsche brand also posted a historical June sales record—sales were up 23% from a year ago. Audi  posted a single-digit increase.

Jaguar Land Rover sales rose 10% from a year ago, which is a best combined sales performance since 2007, according to Tata Motors’ U.S. Jaguar Land Rover arm. Jaguar XF sales increased 30% from a year ago and Land Rover’s Range Rover was the volume leader with a 23% gain. Another European brand, owned by China’s Geely, Volvo posted a dip in sales from a year ago.

Among the independents, Subaru sales soared 42% with strong deliveries for the redesigned Forester and Mazda posted a 13% increase and celebrated its best June sales month since 2007. Sales of the all-new Mazda6 rose more than 172% from last year. Mitsubishi sales were basically flat on a selling-day adjusted basis.

*The percentage of change in sales is adjusted based on the number of selling days in each month. There are 26 selling days in June 2013 vs. 27 days in June 2012.

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