CHICAGO The top seven automakers in the United States sold nearly 1.21 million vehicles last month, up 8.8 percent from 1.11 million in the same month last year despite one less selling day.
First-half sales of nearly 6.74 million vehicles were 7.6 percent higher than 6.26 million in the first six months of 2012, according to an AMM analysis.
Sales by the Detroit-area Big Three have been strong in 2013, with a 0.25-percentage-point increase in last months market share vs. June 2012 and a 1.1-percent gain in the first half.
General Motors Co. recorded its best sales month since September 2008, when the global financial sector went into a tailspin.
"Among the many positive factors at work in the economy are stable gas prices, an improving job market and a stock market thats trending up. This all goes a long way towards explaining why the latest consumer sentiment and consumer confidence survey results have been so strong," GM vice president of U.S. sales operations Kurt McNeil said.
Certain models, particularly full-size pickup trucks, are attracting premiums in dealer showrooms compared with year-ago transaction prices, he said.
Selling into the rental industry, full-size sport utility vehicles are fetching $2,000 more while incentive spending averages $500, for a tidy profit of $1,500, Ed Peper, GMs vice president of fleet and commercial sales, said.
GM isnt worried prices will falter, either. Chief economist Mustafa Mohatarem said that as "pricing is driven by the supply/demand balance, demand is very strong and supply still remains somewhat constrained, so the likelihood of any kind of a price competition is pretty low at this time."
Both small cars and full-size pickup trucks are leading the continuing sales recovery at Ford Motor Co.
"We believe this dynamic is likely to be in place for an extended period as retail consumers continue to move toward downsizing their vehicle choices and strong pent-up demand flourishes in the full-size pickup segment, fueled by a larger cyclical recovery driven by construction," Ford sales analyst Erich Merkle said. "Full-size pickups represented about 12.2 percent of industry (sales) in June, with the segment posting an estimated 24-percent increase over last year."