Auto sales in the U.S. grew 9.2% to 1.40 million units in Jun,
translating into a 13.2% year-over-year rise to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 15.96 million units, the fastest
since Dec 2007. The increase was largely attributable to a
growing popularity of pickups among buyers amidst improvements in
housing, construction and energy sectors.
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This apart, strong pent-up demand, plethora of new models, lower
interest on auto loans and a resilient economy leading to higher
consumer confidence contributed to the big push.
The pickup boom was evident. Detroit's Big Three,
General Motors Company
Ford Motor Company
) and Chrysler, sold 157,480 full-size pickup trucks during the
month, up 25% from Jun last year. As a result, average prices of
pickups went up 2% year-over-year to $40,361 in Jun, as Kelley
Blue Book has revealed.
No doubt, there would be a strong pent up demand, as average age
of vehicles on U.S. roads is more then 11 years now. Its worth to
mention that interest on auto loans was at near historic low in
June. According to Bankrate.com, the average rate on a four-year
car loan is 2.7%. The low rate is sustainable for a near term, as
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has pledged to maintain short-term
interest rates at record lows until the unemployment rate reaches
Let us take a look how the major automakers have performed during
Detroit Big Three
Among these three major players, Ford posted the biggest gain in
sales. The automaker recorded a 13.4% rise in sales to 235,643
vehicles, driven mainly by strong demand for its pickups and
small cars. F-Series continued to be its most popular pickup
while Ford Fiesta and Focus small cars were consumers' favorites
during the month.
GM posted a 6.5% increase in sales to 264,843 vehicles, making
June its best month since Sep 2008. The company's Chevrolet brand
was the big gainer (especially Cruze) while Silverado pickup was
its top-selling vehicle.
Chrysler Group - controlled by Italy's
) - recorded an 8.2% rise in sales to 156,686 vehicles, making
its best June since 2007. Ram full-size pickup with a 24% gain
and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV with a 33% rise were the biggest
gainers during the month.
Japanese Big Three
Toyota Motor Corp.
) posted a 14% rise in sales to 195,235 units due to a strong
demand for its Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and the newly redesigned
Avalon sedan. These three models recorded nearly fourfold
increase in sales in Jun.
Honda Motor Co.
) reported a 9.7% rise in sales to 136,915 vehicles. The rise was
attributable to strong sales of its Accord and Civic sedans as
well as some SUVs.
Nissan Motor Co.
) posted a 12.9% increase in sales to 92,237 units, it's
best-ever June sales. Thanks to double-digit gains in Altima and
Sentra sedans and fourfold increase in Leaf electric car sales
after a price reduction earlier this spring
Other Big Automakers
Among the other major automakers, Germany's
) and Korea's Hyundai Motor succumbed to intense competition in
the industry. Volkswagen posted a 3.2% decline in sales to 36,957
units while Hyundai saw a marginal 1.9% rise in sales to 65,007
units in Jun.
Strong pent-up demand, easier car finance and improving
macroeconomic conditions will continue to act as a catalyst to
rejuvenate U.S. auto sales to the pre-recession level. According
to Autodata Corp., sales in the first half of the year were the
best since 2007 at 7.8 million vehicles. Full-year sales are
expected to be around mid-15 million on a SAAR basis, compared
with 14.5 million units in 2012.