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Car sales surpass industry expectations

July 2, 2014

In another good move for the nation's economy, consumers flocked to dealerships in June, swatting away industry forecasts that there would be a 2 percent to 3 percent drop in auto sales for the month.

Car sales got into gear in June.
June new car sales hit to 1.4 million, which was about the same as a year prior. With results exceeding expectations, automakers are now on pace to sell around 16.2 million vehicles throughout the country by the end of 2014. If that rate holds up, 2014 will be the best year for sales volume since 2006.

Thomas King, vice president of J.D. Power, believes that should be the case.

“New-vehicle demand in the first half of 2014 has been robust, as evidenced by both strong sales and record transaction prices,” King said in a press release following the results of June sales reports. “Looking forward, we expect that strong sales momentum to carry into the second half of the year.”

Some manufacturers roll by predictions

Toyota was one of four major brands to surpass expectations. Americans bought more than 201,000 vehicles from the Japanese manufacturer in June, which came out to a 3.3 percent increase from June 2013. Those sales figures included Toyota's popular lines of Lexus and Scion vehicles.

“Sales in the first half of 2014 indicate a steadily recovering industry, and we expect this pace to increase as we move into the second part of the year,” Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, told USA Today.

Sales of Toyota Camry and Corolla models recorded double-digit gains, helping push the brand's popularity in June. Fay said that passenger cars have displayed a recently revived strength throughout the industry.

But potential car buyers looking to make a splash in the market should consider all costs before making a purchase. Not only do they have to pay for the car's sticker price, but buyers also must recognize they must pay for closing costs such as taxes and annual auto insurance premiums.

In order to save money on insurance premiums, new-car owners should look at plans from SelectQuote Auto & Home, which compares a dozen of the nation's top insurers to help find drivers the best rates and plans.

Detroit is all over the place

The three major auto manufacturers based in Detroit—Chrysler, General Motors and Ford—had varying degrees of success in June.

While Chrysler Group posted the best monthly gain at 9 percent, General Motors improved its sales by 1 percent compared to June 2013 despite major recalls. Meanwhile, Ford trailed the group by a far margin, falling 6 percent.

“Chrysler continues to enjoy solid growth thanks mostly to the Jeep and Ram brands,” Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, told USA Today. “Despite fuel prices approaching a six-year high, a large segment of U.S. car shoppers still prefers sport utilities and trucks over traditional cars, and this preference has translated into continued success and robust growth for Chrysler.”

Jeep was particularly solid for Chrysler, notching a 28 percent gain for its best-ever sales total in June. Jeep's compact Cherokee SUV was introduced for sale in October and drove all over the field in June. The vehicle sold around 13,000 units last month, accounting for much of Jeep's massive surge.

GM sold 267,461 vehicles in June, and that came as a surprise after being forced to recall 26 million cars this year, which was more than the entire industry in 2013.

“General Motors once again proves its amazing resiliency,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with car shopping company AutoTrader.com.