DaimlerChrysler Sales Slip 4.5%

Times Wire Services

DaimlerChrysler said its U.S. auto sales fell 4.5% in June, hurt by declining minivan sales and a lack of discounts that made the year-earlier month one of its best ever. The No. 3 auto maker's car sales fell 14% while sales of pickups, sport-utility vehicles and minivans were down 1%. Toyota Motor Corp., meanwhile, said its U.S. sales rose 4.9% and Honda Motor Co. posted a 1.6% increase. The two Japanese auto makers are selling redesigned vans that contributed to a 19% decline in DaimlerChrysler's minivan sales. Japan's Nissan Motor Co. said sales grew 4.8%, on strong sales of new light-truck models as car sales fell 11%. European auto makers posted some of the biggest percentage gains last month. Germany's Volkswagen said its sales jumped 23% for its strongest June in 26 years and its best month overall since May 1979, largely because of the success of its redesigned Jetta compact sedan. Audi's sales jumped 44%, and Saab posted a 34% increase. General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. are expected to report their sales today.

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