A healthy consumer confidence, fueled by a strong job and housing market, helped to offset growing gas prices leading to an increase in auto sales across the U.S. during June. Every major automaker reported rises when comparing figures from last month to those of June 2017, even General Motors, which no longer reports monthly sales, but posted a sales increase for its full second quarter.
According to AutoNews, 1.55 million new cars and light trucks were sold last month, that 5.2% up from June 2017 while total sales for the first half of the year were of 8.57 million units, an increase of 1.8%. Analyst firms projected smaller monthly gains such as Cox Automotive, which expected a 2.1% increase or Edmunds, which calculated a rise of 3.4%.
The seasonally adjusted sales rate (SAAR) for June totaled 17.47 million units, up sharply from a 16.91-million rate in May.
The stronger-than-expected first half led Cox Automotive to increase its full-year sales forecast from 16.7 million vehicles to 16.8 million. IHS maintained its forecast at 16.9 million, still lower than last year’s total sales of 17.2 million.
The U.S. market is the main destination for Mexico’s auto exports with 68.1% of total shipments heading to the Northern neighbor during the first quarter, according to the latest figures available from the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA).
According to Ward’s Auto, Mexico-made vehicles accounted for 14.6% of U.S. auto sales in the first three months of 2018.
Ford Motor Company posted a 1.2% increase on sales of 230,635 vehicles including retail and fleet units. A strong demand of pickups and SUVs played in favor of the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker which sold a record 939,511 F-Series pickups during the first half of 2018.
General Motors saw its sales increase 4.6% in the second quarter to 758,376 units. Sales during the first half of 2018 were of 1.47 million vehicles, up 4.2%.
Out of the so-called Detroit Big 3 automakers it was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles who performed best with an 8% increase on June sales of 202,264 vehicles.
Toyota Motor's June U.S. sales rose 3.6% to 209,602 vehicles, led by the RAV4 and Highlander sport utility vehicles. The Toyota brand saw a 4.4% increase while the Lexus brand dropped 2.6%.
Nissan Group announced total U.S. sales for June of 145,096 units, an increase of 1% compared to the previous year. The Nissan Division sales set a June record at 134,398 units, an increase of 3%, boosted in part by a 12% hike on combined sales of crossovers, trucks and SUVs.
Honda reported sales of 146,563 vehicles which represents a 4.8% increase, outpacing expectations of Edmunds and Cox Automotive, both of which predicted a 3.7% increase for the Japanese automaker.
Volkswagen Group reported sales of 28,941 units delivered, an increase of 5.7% over June 2017. With 172,898 units delivered year-to-date in 2018, the company is reporting a 7.2 percent increase in year-over-year sales.
Hyundai saw its sales increase 17.5% to 64,052 vehicles, but the automaker's luxury Genesis brand collapsed badly, with sales down 50.7% for the month. Its sister brand Kia posted a sales increase of 0.8% to 56,571 vehicles.