June new car sales: Winners and losers

2015 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4×4 EcoDiesel

Light trucks carry Nissan, FCA, Honda and Toyota to victory

Nissan, Fiat Chrysler, Honda and Toyota, riding a jump in light trucks, posted U.S. increases in June as the industry continued to climb toward one of its biggest sales years ever.

Nissan Motor Co. chalked up a 13 percent gain from a year earlier, boosted by the Rogue and other crossovers. FCA stretched its streak of monthly increases to 63 with an 8.2 percent advance.

Honda Motor Co. volume rose 4.2 percent on a 18 percent jump in light trucks. The Honda brand, aided by the CR-V, Odyssey, redesigned Pilot and all-new HR-V, set a June record with truck sales of 57,667, a gain of 18 percent. Acura surged 39 percent.

At Toyota Motor Corp., June volume rose 4.1 percent led by strong Toyota Tacoma, RAV4 and Highlander sales, and an 11 percent rise in Lexus deliveries. Overall, truck sales last month rose 18 percent to 102,039 vehicles at the Toyota division and 25 percent to 13,038 at Lexus.

“Light trucks have boosted the industry to its best first half since 2005,” said Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager.

Ford Motor Co.’s 1.5 percent rise marked just its second advance in five months.

General Motors, meanwhile, recorded a 3 percent overall decline while noting that its retail sales were up 7 percent. GM blamed its decline on a drop in fleet shipments to daily rental operators.

“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 Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of sales operations.

At Nissan, the namesake brand’s crossover, truck and SUV deliveries rose 30 percent to a June record of 47,883. Overall, Nissan brand volume climbed 13 percent, and Infiniti tallied a 17 percent gain.

Strong sales of the Edge and Explorer utility vehicles helped boost Ford brand sales 1 percent, the automaker said. Lincoln was up 15 percent.

At GM, Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet were all down while the all-truck GMC brand was up 8 percent.

Three of FCA’s five mass-market brands had sales increases during the month, led by Jeep, with a 25 percent rise.

Photo: 2015 Nissan Rogue

Ram volume edged up 2 percent and Chrysler brand deliveries jumped 28 percent. Sales slid 14 percent at Dodge — their fifth straight double-digit decline — and 30 percent at Fiat.

Sales of the Chrysler 200 surged 153 percent to 18,560, helping drive a 17 percent gain in FCA’s car deliveries. The company’s light-truck volume rose 6 percent.

After results from other automakers are released and tallied later today, analysts expect total industry volume to climb four percent to six percent from June 2014.

At Audi, June sales roe 8.3 percent to 18,262 vehicles, marking the luxury brand’s 54th consecutive month over month gain. Audi’s U.S. sales have also risen 68 straight months.

The Volkswagen brand racked up June sales of 30,436 units, a 5.6 percent increase, on higher Golf, Jetta and Tiguan volume. Deliveries rose 3.9 percent to 27,223 vehicles at Mazda.

Hyundai, in a posting on Twitter, said it set a June sales record with 67,502 U.S. deliveries. That would be less than a 1 percent increase from June 2014 levels. Sales rose 6.9 percent at Kia and 32 percent at Mitsubishi. Volvo’s U.S. deliveries rose by 2 vehicles to 5,985.

SAAR forecasts

The seasonally adjusted sales rate is projected to rise to 17.2 million, according to a poll of 11 analysts by Bloomberg. That would be down from the 17.78 million rate in May but higher than the 16.91 million rate in June 2014.

GM today pegged the June SAAR at 17.3 million. FCA estimated 17.5 million, a figure that includes about 400,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

U.S. sales are on track to hit 17 million this year for the first time since 2001 and only the third year ever. Through May, volume had climbed 4.5 percent to 7.05 million cars and light trucks.

The National Automobile Dealers Association this week increased its forecast for new light-vehicle deliveries in 2015 to 17.17 million from 16.94 million. NADA is also projecting U.S. sales will rise to 17.62 million in 2016, toppling the record of 17.4 million established in 2000.

Steven Szakaly, chief economist for NADA, attributes the bullish forecasts to a “surprising amount of pent-up demand” as well as low interest rates, favorable credit terms and rising employment.

“Looking back at 2009-13, we had four years of subpar demand, with sales either under or well under 16 million. That demand, coupled with an improving economy, will continue to translate into strong new-vehicle sales this year and in 2016,” he said.

“While we’ve had a slower-than-normal recovery from this recession, we are seeing the sixth consecutive year of new light-vehicle sales growth.”

Photo: 2015 Toyota Tacoma Baja


Dealers and automakers, for their part, are offering generous discounts and finance terms across the board to keep the market moving.

Many of the best deals can be found on cars, where demand is weaker as lower gasoline prices have encouraged more consumers to buy light trucks, namely crossovers and pickups.

Examples of some deals available across the country this week:

• Normandin Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in San Jose, Calif., has zero-percent annual percentage rate financing for 60 months on 2015 Ram 1500 pickups. The dealership’s price on some 2015 Jeep Compass models has been cut to $18,230 from $23,980.

• Troy Honda in Troy, Mich., is offering leases starting at $199 for the Civic LX and $219 for the Accord LX.

• Stevens Creek Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in San Jose, Calif., is offering leases on the Jeep Patriot at $199 per month for 36 months.

• Participating Kia dealers are offering zero percent financing for 66 months on the Optima, Soul, Forte and Sedona, with the first three months’ payments waived. It’s part of a nationwide summer sale at Kia.

• Participating Kia dealers are offering zero percent financing for 66 months on the Optima, Soul, Forte and Sedona, with the first three months’ payments waived. It’s part of a nationwide summer sale at Kia.

• Toyota Financial Services is offering zero-percent APR for qualified buyers on 13 Toyota models as part of a July 4 holiday sales event that ends July 6. Vehicles covered by the promotion are 2015 Scions and the Toyota Prius, Corolla, Avalon, Camry, Sienna, Tundra and Venza.

• At Hennessy Ford-Lincoln Atlanta in Atlanta, buyers can receive $10,000 off a new 2015 Ford F-150 for a final price of $33,555.

• Stivers Ford-Lincoln in Waukee, Iowa, is offering up to $11,000 off the 2015 F-150.

• As part of a 4th of July sales event, Great Plains Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Hastings, Neb., is dangling $750 bonus cash on 2015 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups.

The average incentive per new light-vehicle stood at $2,846 in June, up 3.6 percent from June 2014 and 0.4 percent higher than May, TrueCar estimated today.

Edmunds.com, in a report released late Tuesday, said leasing continued to drive the market last month, accounting for 28 percent of car sales and a bigger role in deliveries of some trucks.

“Even though trucks are leased at relatively lower rates, small truck leasing is up 34 percent from last June and large truck leasing is up 4 percent year over year,” said Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds.

Larry Vellequette and Hannah Lutz contributed to this report.

The article “Nissan, FCA, Honda and Toyota ride light-truck wave to June gains” first appeared at Automotive News.

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