Nissan, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai-Kia and American Honda rode strong demand for trucks in posting solid sales gains in June as the U.S. auto industry rebounded from a May slump.
Industry volume rose 2.4 percent to 1.5 million new cars and light trucks -- below most projections. And the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate came in at 16.68 million, below a consensus forecast of 17.2 million, and below the 17.01 million rate in June 2015 and May’s 17.46 million pace.
Nissan Motor Corp. -- behind record crossover, truck and SUV deliveries -- recorded a 13 percent rise. Fiat Chrysler extended its streak of monthly advances to 75, while Ford volume increased 6.4 percent. General Motors deliveries fell for the fourth time this year, down 1.6 percent, and Toyota Motor Sales volume slipped 5.6 percent, marking the company's fourth monthly decline this year.
Automakers and analysts are counting on historically low interest rates, stable fuel prices, rising wages and near-full employment to counter some headwinds and continue driving strong auto sales in the second half of the year.
Light trucks, helped by improved fuel economy and low gasoline prices, continue to propel the U.S. market, which set a record in 2015.
“In spite of some severe stock market volatility in June, the American consumer stayed focus on buying new vehicles,” Reid Bigland, senior vice president of sales for FCA North America, said in a statement.
At the Nissan brand, volume rose 13 percent to 129,495 vehicles, setting a June record. Infiniti sales rose 11 percent to 11,058 cars and light trucks.
GM was dragged down by an 8.6 percent drop in deliveries at GMC and a 5.5 percent decline at Buick. Cadillac volume jumped 5.5 percent, while Chevrolet eked out a 0.1 percent sales gain.
The company again shrugged off the decline, pointing to efforts to boost residual values by cutting back on deliveries to daily rental fleets, rein in incentive spending and control inventory levels.
Ford rode another robust month for F-series trucks. F-series sales surged 29 percent to 70,937 trucks. Escape crossover deliveries gained 20 percent to 29,003 vehicles. Lincoln sales rose 5.8 percent to 8,809 vehicles.