Advertisement

U.S. auto sales expected to hit record in first 6 months

A row of 2014 Lincoln MKX SUVs are lined up on a dealer's lot.
(Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)

U.S. auto sales may be slowing, but they’re still expected to set a record in the first six months of this year.

Sales through June were expected to be up 2% over last year, to 8.66 million vehicles, according to Kelley Blue Book.

That was partly due to a strong June, which saw sales rebound after a disappointing May. Sales were expected to rise 5.4% for the month to more than 1.5 million vehicles, according to the car-buying site TrueCar.com.

Ford, Honda, Fiat Chrysler and Nissan all reported gains in June while sales were down at General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Advertisement

After six consecutive years of growth — and record sales of 17.5 million last year — U.S. sales are beginning to plateau. In the first six months of last year, for example, sales were up 4%, or double the pace of this year. But low gas prices, low interest rates, enticing new vehicles and strong consumer confidence should keep them at a very high level.

“As long as economic conditions – like low unemployment and easy access to credit – continue, the industry will be in a strong position through the busy summer sales months,” said Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for the car shopping site Edmunds.com.

See the most-read stories this hour >>

General Motors Co. said its sales dropped 2% to 255,210, due in part to ongoing cuts in sales to low-profit rental car companies. GM said its rental sales are down 37% so far this year. Cadillac sales were up 6% and Chevrolet sales were flat compared with last June, while Buick and GMC sales were down.

Advertisement

Ford Motor Co.’s sales rose 6% to 240,109. Sales of its F-Series pickup — the nation’s bestselling vehicle — jumped 29% to nearly 71,000 vehicles, or more than one every minute. But car sales fell 12% thanks to Americans’ growing preference for SUVs. Sales at Ford’s luxury Lincoln brand were up 6%.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s sales fell 6% to 198,257. The company said short supplies of Toyota SUVs were partly to blame, along with weak sales of cars like the hybrid Prius, whose sales slumped 27%. Sales of the company’s luxury Lexus SUVs were up 11%.

Fiat Chrysler said its June sales rose 7% to 197,073. Jeep sales jumped 17% and Ram truck sales were up 14%. But car sales suffered. Chrysler brand sales fell 20%, while Fiat sales dropped 19%.

Honda Motor Co.’s sales rose 3% to 138,715 vehicles. The Honda brand saw increases in both car and truck sales, but sales at the company’s luxury Acura brand dropped 27%.

Advertisement

Nissan Motor Co.’s sales jumped 13% to 140,553. Sales of its new Maxima sedan more than doubled over last year.

Volkswagen brand sales dropped 22% to 23,809, the victim of the company’s diesel emissions cheating scandal.

ALSO

Fatal crash of Tesla Model S in autopilot mode leads to investigation by federal officials

Advertisement

Don’t drive these Hondas and Acuras unless dangerous air bags are fixed, government warns

VW settles emissions-cheating cases for $14.7 billion and agrees to buy back cars


UPDATES:

12:14 p.m.: This article was updated with information about additional automakers’ June sales.

Advertisement

This article was originally published at 6:56 a.m.


Advertisement