New vehicle sales continued their torrid pace for in the U.S. in June, helping the auto industry finished up the best six months in a decade with a slew of automakers posting sales increases or logging manufacturers sales records.
General Motors, FCA US, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Volkswagen and Mazda all reported sales increases in the buoyant market lifted by strong demand for trucks and utility vehicles.
FCA US LLC posted an 8% increase compared with sales in June 2014 and the group’s best June sales since 2006 and recorded its 63rd-monthly sales increase in a row.
“June represented another strong month for our company with sales up 8% and our 63rd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases,” said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. Sales. “Our all-new Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X inventory started to arrive at dealerships in greater volume during June positioning us well for the summer-selling season.”
GM’s overall sales were down 3% for June, but that result was representative of a conscious effort on the maker’s part to shift away from rental fleet sales, which were down 45% in June. The plan calls for the company to increase its “fleet” sales to commercial customers as well as state and local government fleets. The change represents a push for GM to generate higher returns – rental sales are much less profitable – on its fleet sales.
However, in “real world” sales, i.e. at GM dealers, retail sales were up 7% year-over-year, and they were up more than the industry for the third month in a row.
Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. vice president of Sales Operations, said the increase was driven by stronger Cadillac sales, plus a 12% gain at GMC and a 9% increase at Chevrolet.
“We just wrapped up the U.S. auto industry’s best six months in a decade, driven by strong demand for pickups and crossovers,” said McNeil.
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“People feel good about their jobs and the direction the economy as a whole is taking, so the second half of the year should be strong too, and that’s especially good news for Chevrolet and GMC, brands that have very broad truck and crossover portfolios.”
Strong consumer demand for its newest products – F-150, Mustang, Edge and Explorer – pushed Ford’s total U.S. June sales 2% higher in June. Not only are they selling more, they’re selling for more, company officials said.
“The Ford brand’s average transaction prices have increased $2,700 versus a year ago – more than triple the industry average – while our incentives are down, showing how much customers value our investment in new vehicles with the latest technologies,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.
F-Series average transaction prices reached an all-time record in June, with average transaction prices moving above $44,000 per truck – $3,600 higher than last year. The all-new F-150 is turning twice as fast on dealer lots than the industry average for half-ton pickups, as Ford continues building dealer stocks.
The maker’s luxury marque – Lincoln – posted 20% increase largely due to strong sales of the MKC and Navigator.
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Nissan was one of the sales leaders in June posting a 13.3% sales increase. The Nissan brand was up 13% while its luxury marque, Infiniti, was up 16.5%. Toyota enjoyed a gain of nearly 4.1% led in some measure by its trucks. Tacoma and Tundra combined sales were up 22.4% in June. Toyota’s luxury unit, Lexus, was up 11.1% in June with its utility vehicles posting a 24.6% increase.
Audi reported that its June 2015 sales increased 8.3% to 18,262 vehicles, a total that stands as the third-best monthly result ever in the U.S. market for the German brand. The maker also achieved its best-ever June sales in the U.S., marking the 54th consecutive month-over-month sales record. The previous June record was set in 2014 with 16,867 Audi vehicles sold. Through the first half of 2015, Audi U.S. sales rose 11% to 93,615 vehicles from the year-earlier period.
Volkswagen also reported a 5.6% sales increase in June. It marked the first time in two years that VW has had back-to-back monthly increases. The new Golf made the difference with sales of the company’s family of offerings up 143.1% in June. Every other vehicle in its line-up – save Tiguan, which was up 7.8% – posted lower sales.
Mazda enjoyed its best month of June sales in 13 years on an increase of 3.9% with the CX5 crossover leading the charge with an increase 18%.
The analysts at Kelley Blue Book estimated average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles in the United States climbed 2.5% to $33,340 in June 2015 as the price of new cars have increased by $821 from June 2014, while increasing $209 from last month.
“Ford showed the strongest ATP gains last month, driven largely by its all-new F-150 and a transaction price 6.6% higher than the previous generation F-150 last year,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.
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“The all-new Edge and Mustang, along with updated versions of the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, also contributed to Ford’s pricing gains. The automaker may be struggling to grow volume and market share, but from a profitability standpoint Ford is doing quite well.”