June was a (surprisingly) strong month for U.S. auto sales: The industry’s 1,285,555 deliveries were a 22.1 percent increase over June of 2011, and they also represented an annualized selling rate of 14.1 million units—to put that number into context, the industry sold about 12.8 million vehicles last year. A lot of this gain, of course, came as the Japanese automakers were playing catch-up from the previous year’s natural disasters, but customers also pushed 14 vehicles to monthly sales records in June, which compares to just six record breakers from May.
(Note: All the following individual sales numbers come directly from the automakers; also, vehicles in their first year on the market are not included.)
June Record Breakers: Chrysler 200
Chrysler was the fastest-growing mainstream brand in June, as sales surged by 63 percent and all three members of its current lineup boosted deliveries by at least 32 percent. The top performer by volume? The Chrysler 200, notching a June-record 10,871 deliveries and a 51 percent jump in the right direction. And that increase is even more impressive when you remember that the 200 competes in the hotly contested mid-size sedan segment.
And while Autobytel can’t yet reveal any specific information coming for the 2013 version, we have had a chance to drive that car and can report that it will offer more value and customer choice. Which will come in handy, since rivals like the Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Chevy Malibu all will debut redesigned entries for the 2013 model year.
June Record Breakers: Dodge Journey, Dodge Challenger and Dodge Avenger
Even though the Dodge brand itself only saw a 2 percent sales bump in June, it still had the most record breakers. How’d that happen? Well, the Dodge lineup is in transition, with old-school products like the Dodge Nitro and Dodge Caliber on their way out and next-gen entries like the Dodge Dart on the way in. Somewhere in the middle, the Dodge Journey posted 6,896 sales (+49 percent), the Dodge Avenger assembled a 68 percent sales rise on 9,404 deliveries, the Dodge Challenger expanded its reach by 18 percent, with 4,009 sales, and all three set new volume records for June.
It actually was the fifth consecutive monthly record for the Challenger, and the car also grew sales at a faster rate in June than either the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro. Further, the dynamic Dodge was one of just two cars to finish above its segment’s average in the recently released 2012 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study.
June Record Breakers: Fiat 500
It was a fifth straight monthly sales record for the Fiat 500, a streak likely to continue now that summer is upon us and customers can take full advantage of the award-winning convertible model. The Fiat 500c showcases a unique power-retractable soft-top that can be opened to different positions for different degrees of open-air excitement, and it’s also available in Gucci trim, with a sophisticated style upgrade from the noted Italian fashion house. (The 500c by Gucci also was named this year's Best Small Convertible during the annual Topless in Miami event.)
In all flavors, the 500 sold 4,004 units in June on its way to a 122 percent increase in deliveries.
June Record Breakers: Ford Escape and Ford Fusion
The Blue Oval’s sales stars came from opposite ends of the freshness spectrum in June: The all-new 2013 Ford Escape celebrated its first month at dealerships by driving up sales of the company’s entry crossover to 28,500 units. That did include a significant chunk of sales from the 2012 model, but the end result was the best month ever for the Escape nameplate, which also was the best-selling crossover of any kind in June. And note: The Escape trounced the Honda CR-V by more than 5,000 sales last month, even though the latter had a record-breaking month of its own.
The 2012 Ford Fusion—thisclose to being replaced by the all-new 2013 model—achieved 24,333 sales last month for a 17.4 percent improvement and an all-time record for the month of June.
June Record Breakers: Honda CR-V and Acura RDX
These corporate cousins share both similar DNA and a similar penchant for record-breaking sales performances: The Honda CR-V achieved a new benchmark for sales back in April, the Acura RDX did the same thing in May and now both have put up new volume records in June. The tale of the tape: 23,282 sales for Honda’s small crossover, an improvement of 50.3 percent, and 3,090 sales for the Acura, for a robust 189.3 percent increase.
It probably doesn’t hurt that both are all-new inside and out, with each one also benefiting from increases in cabin space, fuel efficiency and power; the upgrades are particularly noteworthy in the RDX, which now holsters a 3.5-liter V6 with 33 more hp than the vehicle’s outgoing engine and the best fuel-efficiency of any six-cylinder premium crossover in its segment: 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway/23 mpg combined.
June Record Breakers: Hyundai Equus
The range-topping Hyundai Equus luxury sedan broke out its maker’s most powerful engine ever for 2012—the 429 hp Tau V8, with 376 lb.-ft. of torque—as well as its first eight-speed automatic transmission. Then, in June, the Equus broke its all-time record for monthly sales by delivering 355 units and a 60.6 percent leap in deliveries. That may not seem like much in the way of volume, but such is the nature of the segment; the Lexus LS, a top Equus rival, had 476 June sales (+3.7 percent), while the Mercedes-Benz S-Class managed 981 sales (-16.1 percent) from six different models.
June Record Breakers: Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler set a new benchmark for second-quarter sales this year, thanks to three straight monthly records that culminated in June deliveries of 14,461 units, a gain of 28 percent over the same month last year. Jeep is in a nice position to extend the Wrangler’s winning streak this month, too, now that the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Freedom edition is available.
Created to honor U.S. military members during the country’s birthday month, the Wrangler Freedom edition is available in just three colors—red, white and blue—and Jeep is donating $250 from each one sold to military charities across America.
June Record Breakers: Nissan Juke and Nissan Rogue
The Nissan division as a whole set an all-time June record in terms of sales, backed by new high-water marks from the Nissan Rogue and Nissan JUKE crossovers. For the brand, the month saw 81,801 vehicles reach customers’ hands—up 24.6 percent—while the two crossovers’ results included 10,999 sales and a 46.8 percent bounce for the Rogue, the first vehicle in its class with a 360-degree camera system, and 3,101 sales and a 52.7 percent advance for the JUKE, which will welcome the hi-po JUKE Nismo in 2013.
The JUKE has now set new sales marks in three of the past four months, while the Rogue is currently on a streak of 13 consecutive record-breaking sales months, dating back to May of 2011.
June Record Breakers: Volkswagen Tiguan
Yes, the Americanized VW Jetta and VW Passat continue to do most of the heavy lifting at Volkswagen; that pair combined for 21,850 sales in June, accounting for about 43 percent of VW’s total. But it was the VW Tiguan that set a new sales record last month as the athletic crossover moved 2,885 units and moved up deliveries by 16.9 percent. Credit a nice refresh for the 2012 Tiguan, including restyled front and rear fascias and an enhanced six-speed automatic transmission that added 2 mpg to the VW’s highway fuel economy (now up to 27 mpg).
New customers can rest easy, however, in knowing that the Tiguan’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine—making 200 hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque—remains standard.
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