June Auto Sales Wrap-up

Most minivans saw declines and the most severe were in these marginal players:

Hyundai Entourage -86%
Nissan Quest -62%

As Jim Cramer likes to say, "There's always a bull market somewhere," and so even in these bleak times, some cars - and even a few trucks - sold better this June than last. The three strongest categories are newly redesigned models (of course), small cars, and Koreans. And then there are some nameplates that are just defying gravity.

All-new, or new enough
These models are benefiting from redesigns:

Lexus LX570 +193% (impressive, but its total sales are still tiny)
Toyota Land Cruiser +94%
Chevrolet Malibu +73%
Dodge Grand Caravan +52%
Subaru Forester +41%
Honda Accord +37%
Volvo V70/XC70 +32%
Toyota Sequoia +25%
Mercedes-Benz C-class +25%
Chrysler Town & Country +21%
Cadillac CTS +16%
Acura TSX +13%

Small is beautiful
Usually unsexy, often unprofitable, and habitually neglected, small cars have languished as a corporate afterthought, but now they've come blinking out into the sunshine for the first time in decades. The best-selling car in America in June was the Toyota Corolla/Matrix (Toyota does not separate sales figures of the two), with the Honda Civic (May's number one) in third place. Can pork-chop sideburns, earth shoes, and stagflation be far behind - or are they already here?

Suzuki SX4 +168% (new model)
Honda Fit +78% (and a new one is coming this fall . . . )
Mini Cooper +25%
Pontiac Vibe +23% (also got a redo)
Chevrolet Cobalt +22%
Nissan Versa +17%
Toyota Corolla/Matrix +16% (gets an added boost from a redesign)
Mazda 3 +9% (in the final year of a highly successful run)
Honda Civic +9% (slipped a bit, now trails Corolla/Matrix and the Camry)
Volkswagen New Beetle +8%
Pontiac G5 +4% (Pontiac's oft-forgotten Chevy Cobalt twin)

Why the Koreans love a recession
Okay, so some of these are small, or redesigned, but what struck us was how many Hyundais and Kias were up in a down market. It could be the Wal-Mart effect: In tough economic times, people look for brands that promise value.

Kia Amanti +243% (fleet sales juice the numbers for this one)
Kia Optima +121% (better four-cylinder availability helps here)
Kia Sedona +80%
Hyundai Accent +70%
Hyundai Elantra +51%
Hyundai Sonata +12%
Kia Rio +5%
Kia Spectra +3%

Defying gravity
The following models are neither new, nor small, nor Korean, but they trudged uphill to post gains anyway:

Dodge Viper +259% (Viper fans are rushing out to get theirs before it goes away)
Chevrolet Equinox +46% (we're stumped here)
Saturn Sky +44%
Pontiac G6 +34%
Audi A4/S4 +34%
Mazda 5 +29% (the idea of a small minivan isn't so crazy anymore)
Chevrolet TrailBlazer +28% (talk about defying gravity - although GM's six-year, 0% financing helped)
Saturn Aura +26%
Saturn Vue +25%
Chevrolet HHR +24% (okay, it's pretty small)
Maserati (all) +20%
Mercedes-Benz E-class +18% (ahead of a redesign next year)
Ford Fusion +18%
Volkswagen Eos +14%
Cadillac STS +12%
Cadillac SRX +12%
Mercedes-Benz SL-class +12% (it did get a minor facelift)
Volkswagen Touareg +9% (simply inexplicable)
Mercury Milan +8% (the Fusion and Milan gave Ford its only up arrows)
Porsche Boxster +8% (apparently ageless)
Pontiac Torrent +6% (see Equinox, above)
Jeep Patriot +5% (but the Jeep Compass was down)
Mercedes-Benz ML-class +2%
Lamborghini (all) +2%
Lotus (all) +1%
Chevrolet Suburban +0% (Chevy sold 3 more Suburbans this June than last, too small to register a percentage)

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