By the numbers, the U.S. auto industry just had its best spring selling season in a decade.
But that's not the whole story. June 2015 was actually far better than June 2005.
In June 2015, automakers were healthy and scrambling to keep up with demand for their most profitable vehicles.
In June 2005, they were overflowing with inventory nobody wanted and desperate to get rid of it at any cost.
That's when General Motors had a brilliantly awful idea. "You pay what we pay, not a cent more," the commercials blared.
GM's Employee Discount for Everyone promotion was such a success that Ford and Chrysler jumped on board that July.
Sales soared like never before. The industry's seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate climbed from 16.96 million in May to 17.99 million in June to an incredible 20.64 million in July.
People loved getting the employee discount, even if they didn't particularly care for the cars and trucks they were getting. (Fortunately, the government's Cash for Clunkers program eventually provided a convenient method to dispose of them.)
"I don't even have a correct adjective for it," Paul Ballew, then GM's lead sales analyst, said at the time. "It's like someone hitting 90 home runs in baseball. It's one of our best programs ever."
Forty-eight months later, GM filed for one of the biggest bankruptcies ever.
It took years for the Detroit 3 to wean themselves off their addiction to discounting. But now they're posting record transaction prices because customers like what they're buying and are loading them up with extra features.
Automakers sold a little under 1.5 million vehicles last month, for a SAAR of 17.16 million. That's not even close to the 1.68 million sold in June 2005. And next month, sales will fall well short of the 1.81 million sold in July 2005, the industry's all-time, single-month record.
I don't think anyone minds. The sales charts may not look as impressive, but Detroit is having much greater success with this year's ingenious promotion: "Employee Discounts for Employees. $40,000 Trucks for Everyone Else."