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.
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.
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.
At Chrysler, June looked a lot like May, with Chrysler, Jeep, and Fiat essentially flat, and Dodge and Ram providing the growth.
The increase in Dodge volume is mostly due to the Dart far outselling the previous Caliber. In June, the Dart got a hand from the Durango (+39%), while the Avenger (-19%) was a drag on results.
Jeep’s overall figure is deceptive because all continuing models were up by double digits, but those gains were wiped out by the loss of Liberty sales. The Liberty’s replacement, the new Cherokee, won’t be in dealerships for another couple months.
The big Ram has become a fixture on the top ten nameplates list. This month it’s number seven.
AMERICAN HONDA +10%
Honda sales chief John Mendel boasted that the Fit, CR-V, Odyssey, and Pilot all had their best performance of the year in June. That was more than enough to allow Honda to pick up a bit of market share, despite Acura’s foot-dragging.
In addition to the aforementioned models, all of which were up by double digits, the Ridgeline increased by a third, the Accord added 10%, and the Civic inched up 8%. Among Honda’s laggards were the Insight (-22%), the Crosstour (-19%), and the CR-Z (-4%).
The new RDX (+30%) was up again, as was the ILX (+39%). The RLX almost doubled its previous month’s volume, but still amounted to only 499 cars. The MDX fell back (-25%) during this changeover month to the new model, and both volume sedans, the TL and the TSX, were down by more than a third.
HYUNDAI – KIA +0%
The Korean nameplates have struggled to beat their year-ago numbers, but don’t feel too badly for them. Hyundai’s figure was still another sales record.
After a much-publicized price cut, the Leaf leapt, with sales jumping to four times last year’s levels and nearly reaching those of Chevy’s Volt (which itself was up 53%). The new Pathfinder was another big mover for Nissan, tripling its prior volume. See also the Altima (+23%) and the Rogue (+41%). On the downslope we find the Quest (-46%), the Cube (-38%), and the Titan (-44%), the latter apparently is impervious even to a booming pickup market.
The formerly hot JX turned southward, if only slightly, joining the rest of the Infiniti lineup in the minus column. The G replacement needs to get here, stat.
The Beetle is battling (+30%) but the Passat (+6%) and Jetta (+9%) are just holding their own. Meanwhile, the Golf (-36%) is starting to look like a model in the last year of its cycle, while the Eos (-40%), the CC (-35%), and the Routan (-85%) just look old.
The hottest brand throughout the recession is the hottest brand in the recovery. The XV Crosstrek is looking more and more like a good idea; it combined with the new Forester (with assistance from the Outback, Legacy, and Impreza) to give Subaru the biggest June-over-June sales increase of any brand.
The 3-series gained momentum in June (+63%) and the 6-series posted a big increase of its own (+120%). Factor in the additional volume from the X1, and you get a good month for the Bavarians.
The Countryman outpaced the other Minis but both were ahead of last year.
Mercedes-Benz was beaten by BMW in June, but it still holds the lead over its rival through the first half of the year.
The SUVs continue to the happiest story at Mercedes: GL (+25%), ML (+26%), GLK (+37%); and don’t forget the G-wagen, which sold 231 units versus 50 last June. The cars were more of a mixed bag, with C-class up (+17%) but E-class (-7%), S-class (-14%), and CLS (-22%) all down.
After popping in May, Smart dropped in June.
The new Mazda6 is now doing more than twice the volume of the old car. The Mazda2 and Mazda3, though, were both down — the replacement for the latter was just recently revealed but isn’t yet in showrooms.
JAGUAR LAND ROVER +10%
The arrival of the F-type gave Jaguar a boost but all Jaguar models beat their year-ago totals.
TOP 10 BESTSELLING NAMEPLATES IN JUNE
1. Ford F-series 68,009
2. Chevrolet Silverado 43,259
3. Toyota Camry 35,870
4. Chevrolet Cruze 32,871
5. Honda Accord 31,677
6. Honda Civic 29,724
7. Dodge Ram 29,644
8. Ford Escape 28,694
9. Nissan Altima 26,904
10. Honda CR-V 26,572