U.S. Auto Sales on Track for another Record Year

U.S. auto sales are on track to set a new record for the best in June compared to more than a decade, driven by robust sales of pickup trucks and SUVs.

The performance of automakers in June is mixed. Nissan Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) reported better-than-expected sales, while General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Honda Motor Co. (NYSE: HMC) reported sales that miss analysts’ estimates.

GM, the biggest U.S. automaker, said overall sales fell 1.6 percent to 255,210 vehicles in June. The result missed analysts’ projection of 0.7 percent decline. The Detroit-based company continues to reduce less profitable business with rental fleets. However, the retail sales rose 1 percent.

Fiat Chrysler reported a 6.5 percent sales increase in U.S., driven by robust demand for its pickups and sport utility vehicles. Jeep brand sales jumped 17 percent to 83,691 vehicles. The overall sales were 197,073 and it was the best June sales in 11 years. But the result still missed analysts’ estimate of 8.9 percent increase.

Ford sales rose 6.4 percent to 239,096 vehicles in June, topping analysts’ estimates of 4.9 percent gain. The strong result was also driven by robust truck sales. F-Series pickup sales jump 29 percent to 70,937 and SUV sales rose 7.3 percent.

Nissan sales rose 13 percent to 140,553 in June, which sets the best June sales record for the Japanese automaker. The result is much better than analysts’ estimate of 7.2 percent gain.

“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.

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