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US auto sales get boost from economy

Keywords: Tags  General Motors, Ford Motor, Chrysler Group, automotive sales, Honda, Kurt McNeil, Reid Bigland, Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — Strong demand and an improved economic outlook helped bolster U.S. sales for most major automakers last month.

The top seven automakers sold 1.22 million vehicles in June, up 0.8 percent from nearly 1.21 million in the same month last year, pushing the year-to-date total to almost 7.02 million vehicles, a 4.1-percent jump from 6.74 million a year earlier. Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co. and Torrance, Calif.-based American Honda Motor Co., Inc. bucked the trend, posting moderately lower sales figures.

Despite continued pressure from Washington over a wave of safety recalls, Detroit-based General Motors Co. posted its best June sales figures since 2007. "June was the third very strong month in a row for GM, with every brand up on a selling-day adjusted basis," Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations, said in a statement. "In fact, the first half of the year was our best retail sales performance since 2008, driven by an outstanding second quarter."

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler Group LLC also recorded its best June sales figures since 2007, largely due to increased demand for its pickups and sport utility vehicles.

"In spite of two fewer selling days in June vs. a year ago, we were able to increase our sales 9 percent and post our strongest June sales in seven years," Reid Bigland, head of Chrysler’s U.S. sales, said in a statement.

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