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Large Pickups and Compacts Remain Hot Sellers in June

7/3/2013
In June, a continuing surge in demand for large pickups helped propel new-vehicle sales in the U.S. market to the highest levels in the past five years, according to automakers and media reports. In addition, automakers also sold more small, fuel-efficient vehicles than a year ago--especially compact cars and compact crossovers (CUVs)--which may be due to generally higher prices at the gas pump.

In early reports, BMW Group, Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Group posted some of the best double-digit year-over-year sales gains. Ford Motor Co.'s June sales increase was the largest among the Detroit Three, although General Motors and Chrysler-Fiat also posted better delivery totals than in June a year ago, when there was one more selling day.*

Premium automaker BMW Group reported a 21% improvement in June from a year ago, with BMW brand deliveries soaring nearly 25% on an unadjusted basis for a record June performance. Sales of the 3 Series soared by nearly two-thirds from a year ago. Mini sales rose nearly 10% and also posted a June record.

On an unadjusted basis, Ford sales rose 13%, although Lincoln brand sales dipped despite strong deliveries of the new MKZ premium midsize sedan. Small cars led the pace for Ford--Fiesta, Focus and C-Max combined sales were up by 39% from a year ago. Sales of Ford's F-Series, the best-selling model in the U.S. market, rose by one-fourth from a year ago. The Escape compact CUV posted a June record.

Nissan Group said it experienced its 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%. 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 Group celebrated its best June sales total in six years, according to the company. Deliveries improved by more than 8%. Ram led the charge with a 24% gain followed by the automaker's Dodge division, which enjoyed a 12% sales increase. Jeep, Chrysler and Fiat brands also sold more new vehicles in June than a year ago. Jeep Grand Cherokee deliveries climbed by one-third from a year ago, while several more models, including the Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Challenger and Dodge Dart, posted their best sales for the month of June.

General Motors posted a 6.5% gain, and the company said June deliveries were the highest for any month since September 2008. Cadillac sales surged 15% and its flagship Chevrolet brand experienced a 6.4% gain due to the strength of its Cruze and Sonic compacts, which posted record sales months. Incentives also helped Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid (PHEV) deliveries rise by more than one-half. Silverado pickup sales climbed by 29%, with more than 6,000 all-new 2014 Crew Cab models being delivered in June. Sales of the GMC Sierra roared ahead by one-third.

Toyota Group sales climbed by nearly 10% on an unadjusted basis and were up 14% when adjusted for one less selling day. Camry, the best-selling car in America, topped 35,000 unit sales in June. Sales of the redesigned Avalon nearly tripled in June from a year ago. Lexus deliveries continued to improve--up nearly 7% unadjusted and an increase of nearly 11% on a selling-day adjusted basis. Only the Scion youth brand posted a major decline--sales were down nearly 22% on an adjusted basis. The best-selling truck in Toyota's lineup was the RAV4, which posted a 41% gain on an adjusted basis, while Toyota Tundra and Tacoma sales achieved a combined 18% improvement in sales from a year ago.

Honda Group sales also rose nearly 10% from a year ago, even with a decline from its premium Acura brand. Honda posted 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.

Hyundai reports that its sales edged up 2% on an unadjusted basis and noted that Elantra deliveries soared 26% from a year ago. Sonata sales also increased from a year ago.

Among the remaining major European automakers, Volkswagen Group sales edged up slightly from a year ago. 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.

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. However, Sprinter van sales were down 8% from a year ago.

Among the four independent brands, Subaru sales soared 42% on an unadjusted basis from last June, with strong deliveries for the redesigned Forester. Mazda celebrated a 13% gain for its best June sales month since 2007. Sales of the all-new Mazda 6 rose more than 172% from last year. Mitsubishi posted nearly flat sales.

*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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