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Car Makers Say Early-June Sales Are Best Since 1978

Times Staff Writer

Despite continuing inroads by imports, sales of domestically built cars rose 15.5% for the first 10 days of June, setting the fastest pace for the period since 1978, the auto makers reported Thursday.

A total of 216,565 cars were sold by the seven U.S. manufacturers during the period, up from 187,482 in early June, 1984.

General Motors, with a 16.7% increase, and Ford, up 14.4%, outpaced the five other makes--Chrysler, American Motors, Volkswagen of America, American Honda and Nissan USA--in sales, capturing about 84% of all sales. Chrysler reported a 20.7% increase during the period.

The combined sales rate averaged 27,071 cars a day.

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Analysts said that the figures were encouraging but cautioned that increased shipments of imports may begin cutting into sales of domestic autos.

Imports posted their best monthly sales rate of the year in May, accounting for about 25% of the U.S. market.

“The (U.S.) market continues to be strong,” said Ted Sullivan, auto analyst with the economic forecasting firm Data Resources. But he said the April 1 lifting of mandatory import quotas would begin to show soon in the sales figures.

“Ten-day domestic sales are going to have to start easing a bit. If imports are going to increase, it’s going to come at the expense of domestics,” Sullivan said.

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Auto Sales

June 1--10 June 1--10 % 10--Day 1985 1984 change

GM 129,594 111,037 +16.7 Ford 52,594 46,218 +14.4 Chrysler 28,184 23,345 +20.7 AMC* 2,360 3,250 -27.4 VW U.S. 986 831 +18.6 Honda U.S. 1,845 2,801 -34.1 Nissan U.S.* 750 -- -- TOTAL 216,565 187,482 +15.5

*Estimate

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