U.S. auto sales surged northward in June, with all three of the “domestic” automakers getting in on the action: The Chrysler Group set the pace, again, scoring a 20 percent improvement in volume over June 2011, with GM netting a 16 percent jump and Ford moving ahead by 7 percent. However, the overall industry rate of growth was 22.1 percent, meaning that all three of the American brands underperformed last month. On the other hand, a big chunk of the marketplace’s growth was driven by Japanese automakers that are recapturing sales lost as a result of last year’s natural disasters.
And the Biggish Three did have plenty of bright spots—sales-wise—in June, including …
June Auto Sales: Chrysler Group Cars Gain Ground
In the dark days prior to being rescued by Fiat (and the U.S. government), the Chrysler Group’s aging car lineup was outclassed and outsold by the competition on a regular basis. And while trucks and SUVs still make up some 70 percent of the automaker’s product mix, June saw the company’s cars achieve a 42 percent sales gain, with the other side of the portfolio good for a 12 percent advance. All told, the company added 20 percent more sales to its bottom line this June as compared to last, and delivered 144,811 vehicles.
Particularly strong numbers were put up by the Chrysler 300 (+179 percent), FIAT 500 (+122 percent), Chrysler 200 (+51 percent), and Dodge Avenger (+68 percent), while the Dodge Challenger’s volume of 4,009 units (+18 percent) represented a June record for the car. The Dodge Dart compact also recorded its first 202 sales; as the Chrysler Group’s first all-new post-Fiat vehicle, and its first 40-mpg next-gen compact, the Dart should see that volume jump exponentially next month.
Yet perhaps the most notable performer for the Chrysler Group in June was the Jeep Wrangler. This is a vehicle, remember, that’s been on sale in this country for three generations and 25 years, and it’s still setting new benchmarks; in fact, in June, it set its second consecutive all-time monthly sales record, on the strength of 14,461 deliveries (+28 percent). The difference-maker? Along with a modernized powertrain and interior, Jeep gives credit to the existence of the four-door, family-friendly Wrangler Unlimited, currently responsible for about 65 to 70 percent of all Wrangler sales.
Also, the Ram pickup remained the fastest-growing full-sizer from among the top three entries. Sales were up 12 percent for the Ram, followed by the Ford F-150 (+10.9 percent), Chevy Silverado (+3 percent) and GMC Sierra (+.8 percent).
June Auto Sales: All Four GM Brands up by Double Digits
The General’s double-digit sales growth last month—up 16 percent, with 248,750 deliveries—may have surprised some people, but probably not fleet watchers. After all, GM reported an 8 percent improvement on the retail side but a 36 percent jump in fleet sales, “due in part to the timing of customer deliveries.” But at least the company scores points for transparency, as neither Chrysler nor Ford provided information about their fleet vs. retail mix.
Regardless, those fleet customers were likely a major factor in the June success of the Chevy Malibu, which pushed sales up by 32.3 percent and delivered 31,402 units. To put that into context, the only car in the country with more than sales in June was the Toyota Camry, with 32,107. Brand-wise, Buick was up by 26.8 percent, Cadillac by 11.6 percent, Chevy by 14.9 percent and GMC by 14.8 perceent.
It is worth noting, too, that GM had robust individual performers from both ends of the fuel-efficiency spectrum last month: The Chevy Sonic’s 6,785 June sales were up more than 75 percent as compared to the Aveo in 2011, and also led the subcompact segment, while the Chevy Volt saw another massive sale jump, this time of 213.7 percent, albeit on only 1,760 sales. Coming up big as well were GM’s big crossovers. The GMC Acadia garnered a 55.9 percent improvement on 9,796 sales; the Chevrolet Traverse moved ahead by 41 percent on 9,570 sales; and the ever-popular Buick Enclave enjoyed a 30 percent June jump to 5,207 sales.
Other strong gainers for GM in June:
- Chevy Equinox—20,793 sales, +15.8 percent
- Buick Verano—4,091 sales in its first June on the market
- Cadillac CTS—5,046 sales, +20.2 percent
- Chevy Suburban—5,136 sales, +53.1 percent
- GMC Yukon XL—2,343 sales, +52.1 percent
Junes Auto Sales: Ford Escape Sets All-time Monthly Record
Dealers welcomed the 2013 Ford Escape to their lots in June, but not for long—the redesigned crossover is lasting an average of just five days at dealerships before being purchased. That kind of high demand helped the Escape achieve its best monthly sales volume ever, with 28,500 deliveries and a growth rate of 28 percent. Also impressive: That total from the Escape represents the second-highest monthly volume from any vehicle in its class this year.
It was a sales injection that allowed Ford to report a 7 percent overall improvement in June, buoyed by 207,759 deliveries.
But the Escape wasn’t the only record-setter in June for the Blue Oval: With the brand-new 2013 Ford Fusion fast approaching its on-sale date, the 2012 continues to sprint toward the finish line and set its fourth straight monthly sales record in June. The mid-size sedan reaped 24,333 sales and benefited from a 17.4 percent improvement in volume. In addition, last month’s muscle-car melee was won by the Ford Mustang, up 16.2 percent on 10,263 deliveries; the refreshed Ford Flex kept its momentum high with a 34.5 percent jump (on 3,140 sales); and the Ford Explorer matched that percentage increase with its 10,422 sales.
There were even a few glimmers of good news from Ford’s lux brand; the Lincoln MKZ delivered 3,137 units to raise June volume by 32.9 percent above the same month in 2011, and the Lincoln MKT posted a 76.5 percent jump in sales that also pushed its year-to-date volume up by 45.5 percent. Of course, that still represented a meager 697 sales in June and 3,648 through June.
The best-selling vehicle in America? The Ford F-150 had its best June in five years, moving 55,025 vehicles for a 10.9 percent gain.
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