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June auto sales: Nissan results led by Altima, Rogue

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The auto industry recovery has been good to Nissan, which posted its best June sales total ever.

Sales rose nearly 13% to 104,124 vehicles compared to the same month a year earlier. 

The automaker’s Altima sedan led in total numbers, with 26,904 cars sold to post a 23% gain. Meanwhile, the compact crossover SUV Rogue jumped 41% in sales, setting its own June record with 15,518 units sold.

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Nissan reported its electric Leaf had its second-highest month ever, with 2,225 EVs sold, a 315% increase over last June. Already, the electric car’s 2013 sales have surpassed total numbers for all of 2012.

“A lot of the marketing offers and price cuts have helped bring interest to the Nissan brand recently,” said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for Edmunds.com.

But Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti, declined in comparison to June of last year, falling 12.7% to a few more than 9,114 cars.

Nissan's results come against a backdrop of healthy industry sales. Automakers sold about 1.4 million vehicles last month, up roughly 6% from the prior year.

“We’ve had a strong first half of the year with new-car sales up nearly 7% compared to the first half of last year,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book. “The industry continues to benefit from modest improvements in housing, unemployment and consumer confidence.”

General Motors

General Motors Co. in June posted its best month for U.S. auto sales in almost five years. The automaker said sales rose 6% to 264,843 vehicles over the same month a year earlier, the highest total since September of 2008. Booming truck sales, linked to the recovery of housing and construction, were responsible for much of GM’s growth last month. Sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup increased 29% and 33%, respectively.

“GM's growth goes beyond trucks though,” said Alec Gutierrez, an analyst with auto information company Kelley Blue Book. “Growth in the small-car and crossover segments have also helped to move the needle for GM with their Cruze and Equinox showing strong gains,” he said.

Volkswagen

While most automakers posted sales gains in June, Volkswagen saw its business decline because of a dearth of new models. The German company said its U.S. sales fell 3.2% to 36,957 vehicles last month compared to the same period a year earlier.

“Gains in the Jetta and Passat were offset by a rather significant decline in the Golf, which has seen a decline as consumers hold out for the 2014 redesign expected to drop later this year,” said Alec Gutierrez, an analyst with auto information company Kelley Blue Book.

Ford

Ford Motor Co. reported a healthy boost in sales for the month of June, a 13% year-over-year increase, thanks in large part to the automaker’s F-series trucks. This was the best June for Ford trucks since 2005, in fact, with sales up 24% to take the F-series into its 23rd consecutive month of increases.

Economy cars also sold well. Sales of the Fiesta, Focus and C-MAX hybrid totaled more than 35,800, up 39% from last year, making last month the carmaker’s best June for small cars in 13 years. The Escape crossover SUV also continued its strong sales streak, posting best-ever monthly sales at 28,694 vehicles.

“We’re particularly encouraged by strong retail share gains, especially in coastal markets,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of marketing, sales and service.

Chrysler

Chrysler posted its best June since 2007 with sales up 8% year-over-year, the automaker reported. Dodge Durango sales led the way with a 39% increase, while Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram trucks helped boost sales with 33% and 23% increases, respectively. Jeep sales overall were flat, but should get a boost later this summer with the arrival of a new Jeep Cherokee, which will replace the outgoing Liberty model.

“Chrysler is weaning itself some from the outsized percentage of daily rental car sales it had been selling, which puts the automaker in a healthier financial position," said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with auto information company Edmunds.com. 

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Twitter: @c_s_green

catherine.green@latimes.com

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