CHRYSLER GROUP +20%
One year ago, when Chrysler recorded a 30% sales increase, we wondered: "how much of it is due to diminished competition [from hobbled Japanese brands] and how much is due to its own new and/or improved products." A slew of double-digit sales increase later, it would seem that we have our answer -- with the only caveat now being a supportive undercurrent of fleet sales.
The 300 continues to pour it on (+179%), with smaller but still significant increases coming from the 200 (+51%) and the Town & Country (+33%).
Dodge didn't do nearly as well as Chrysler this month, mostly because of churn in its lineup. The Caliber (-75%) is leaving but the Dart, with 202 sold, has barely poked its bumper into showrooms. The Nitro has also departed, but the Durango (-44%) just plain declined. So what was up? The Avenger (+68%), the Journey (+49%), the Challenger (+19%), and the Charger (+18%).
The Liberty (+50%) had Jeep's biggest sales increase this month, but the Wrangler (+28%) and the Grand Cherokee (+39%) remain the brand's biggest-volume models. The smallest Jeeps both slipped in June, the Compass (-15%) was down slightly more than its twin, the Patriot (-4%).
The big Ram pickup did well, but not as well as last month.
After cresting the 4000-unit mark in May for the first time ever, with 4003 cars sold, Fiat did one better in June -- literally, one better, selling 4004 cars.
AMERICAN HONDA +49%
Again in June, Honda was able to increase its tsunami-depressed year-ago total by nearly half.
The Civic (+57%) couldn't match last month's big total, but it was nonetheless America's bestselling small car. The Accord, meanwhile, nearly doubled its year-ago figure (+84%) but still managed only third place in the passenger-car derby. The smaller, fuel-sippers (Insight, Fit, and CR-Z) are all down, but Honda claims to have low inventories of those models, which are all imported and are not profitable at current exchange rates.
The new RDX tripled its prior-year figure. The new ILX chipped in another thousand or so units. Add big jumps for the TL (+47%), the TSX (+44%), and the MDX (+52%), and you hardly notice the fading ZDX (-39%).
As was the case in May, the Koreans were hard pressed to grind out a big percentage increase over their strong performance in 2011. But that doesn't mean things were bad; both Hyundai and Kia claimed their best June sales ever.
The new Azera is easily trouncing its predecessor, and the Accent (+57%) continues to do well. The Elantra (-12%) is off, although Hyundai says that's due to low inventory levels; that's sedan only -- the coupe and GT have yet to arrive. The only laggards are the SUVs, with the Santa Fe, Veracruz, and Tuscon all down.
The Optima (+89%) and the Rio (+88%) were Kia's wonder twins this month. Small cars -- the Forte (-9%) and the Soul (-10%) -- were less wonderful.
NISSAN NORTH AMERICA +28%
Nissan wasn't much affected by the disaster a year ago, although Infiniti was, and that's reflected in the year-over-year percentage increases.
The redesigned sedan helped double sales of the Versa; and the new Quest doubled as well. There was lots of positive news among Nissan trucks and SUVs, from the diminutive Juke (+53%) and compact Rogue (+47%) to the big-boy Titan (+42%), the Armada (+28%), and the NV van (+70%). The Altima, which is undergoing a model changeover, was up slightly (+12%), but fell in behind not only the Camry and Accord but also the Malibu and the Fusion.
Infiniti's June looked a lot like its May: sales edging into the five figures, up by two-thirds compared to the depressed, year-ago levels. The new JX has settled in as the brand's second-bestselling model, behind the G (+39%). All other Infinitis were up, save the EX (-39%).
Mercedes' gain wasn't great but it was enough to easily outsell a stagnant BMW. The strangest component had to be the jump for the R-class (651 units, up from 75), but it's not enough to save this model. The upswing for the new SL (+217%) was more expected, although that of the SLS (86 units, up from 18) was less so. Sales of the G-class have slowed to a trickle, but that model isn't going anywhere. Falling demand for the GL (-25%) is also not so worrisome, with a new version set to arrive shortly.
Smart sales tripled, as the brand delivered more than 1000 cars for the first time in a long time.
Collectors continue to snap up the last remaining Maybachs, at a rate of 4 per month.