Robust construction activity helped drive pickup sales higher -- up by 24% over last year -- which in turn helped propel overall auto sales beyond even the sunny expectations of industry watchers. The suddenly booming housing market is only the most obvious sign of increased economic activity. New-car buyers shrugged off a dip on Wall Street, and flocked to dealerships. Overall new vehicle sales jumped 9% compared with the previous June, reaching their most torrid pace of 2013, an annualized selling rate of nearly 16 million units. That number hasn’t been seen -- or even fantasized about -- since 2007. Better still for the auto industry, consumers are paying more for cars, as they gravitate toward feature-loaded models. Incentives, meanwhile, are down.
JUNE 2013 SALES RESULTS, AND PERCENT CHANGE VERSUS JUNE 2012.
GENERAL MOTORS +7%
Although the new Silverado and Sierra did begin to reach dealers in June, GM for the most part was still selling the outgoing version of its pickups -- and it sold a lot them. GM claimed that while its retail business improved, its fleet sales declined.
Buick slipped again in June, despite the addition of the Encore to the lineup. Among continuing models, the Verano (+10%) and the Enclave (+14%) were up slightly, while the Regal (-41%) and the LaCrosse (-45%) fell hard.
The CTS is taking a big swoon as the car transitions to the new model. Luckily, the ATS and the XTS have more than filled the gap.
Both cars and trucks were up this month at Chevrolet. The Silverado (+29%) again was in the number two spot among all nameplates, but the surprise was the Cruze (+73%), which soared to become the bestselling domestic passenger car, and number two among all passenger cars behind the Toyota Camry. Some of those sales may have come at the expense of the Malibu (-32%), however.
Aided by incentives, sales of the big Sierra rose by a third. That was the extent of the good news at GMC, as crossovers were basically flat and the big SUVs were down.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY +13%
With its F-series -- and, to a much lesser extent, the Transit Connect van -- Ford is reaping the benefit of a rebounding construction sector. But the company’s passenger cars are doing pretty well too.
A big month for pickup trucks is going to be a big month for the F-series, and June was exactly that. Just over 68,000 were sold (+24%), although that was a little shy of May’s figure. At the opposite end of the size spectrum, the tiny Fiesta saw its sales double. In between them, the Escape again was the country’s bestselling SUV.
After posting a big sales increase last month, the MKZ just treaded water in June -- as did the division as a whole.
TOYOTA MOTOR SALES +10%
Toyota looked good on both the car and the truck side. Toyota’s biggest worry is Scion division.
The Camry slightly outpaced the industry, easily retaining bestselling passenger car title. The new Avalon continues to sell at three times its previous pace. Of the trucks, the Tundra (+12%) and the Tacoma (+18%) both joined in the pickup party, while the RAV4 (+36%) was the hot seller among SUVs. Sitting out the good times were the 4Runner (-4%), the Venza (-32%), and the Yaris (-63%).
The new ES (+50%) continues to be the major bright spot in the otherwise not-so-fresh Lexus lineup. The new IS just started arriving at the end of the month, not in time to help sales of that model, which were down by a quarter.
Scion flipped from positive to negative in June, with all models, including the FR-S, declining by double digits.