Chevrolet Trax, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang Are Among Shoppers' Favorites in June | Edmunds

Chevrolet Trax, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang Are Among Shoppers' Favorites in June

DETROIT — As car sales in June continued to chug toward one of the industry's biggest sales years, shoppers eagerly snapped up a variety of vehicles, including the Chevrolet Trax, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang.

Light trucks proved to be a major showroom hit, too, with strong sales of the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Ford Explorer and Ram ProMaster.

Two trends emerged as automakers reported June sales on Wednesday. Leasing is driving the sales of trucks and small cars continue to struggle.

"Leasing is bucking traditional sales trends by playing a bigger role in new truck sales," said Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis. "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."

Caldwell noted: "The industry's smallest cars continue to struggle. Subcompact cars average 99 days to turn last month, which is a near record high and 21 days higher than in June 2014. Small cars are feeling pressure from the new crop of compact and subcompact SUVs like Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade, which have proven popular, especially with Baby Boomers."

Nissan, Fiat-Chrysler, Honda and Toyota were among the strongest performers in June.

Nissan reported a 13 percent gain versus last June on brisk sales of the Nissan Rogue, Murano and Pathfinder SUVs.

Fiat-Chrysler recorded an 8 percent increase compared with sales in June 2014.

"Our all-new Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X inventory started to arrive at dealerships in greater volume during June, positioning us well for the summer-selling season," said Reid Bigland, Fiat-Chrysler head of U.S. sales in a statement.

Seven Fiat-Chrysler vehicles set records in June, including the Chrysler 200, Dodge Journey, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Patriot, Dodge Challenger and Ram ProMaster.

Ford's June sales edged up slightly compared to a year ago to 225,647 vehicles sold.

Ford said the 2015 F-150 is turning twice as fast on dealer lots then the industry average for half-ton pickups, as Ford continues building dealer stocks.

"Strong retail momentum continues building for our newest vehicles — including F-150, Mustang, Edge and now Explorer," said Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a statement.

GM sales were down 3 percent overall, a drop attributed to a deliberate decline in fleet shipments. GM's retail sales climbed seven percent year over year.

"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 U.S. vice president of sales operations, in a statement. "People feel good about their jobs and the direction the economy as a whole is taking, so the second half of the year should be strong, too."

The Chevrolet Trax had its best month since launch, Buick Encore deliveries were up 33 percent and the Chevrolet Silverado was up 18 percent.

Toyota's June sales rose 4.1 percent. Highlights included strong sales of the Toyota Tacoma, RAV4, Highlander and Camry.

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

Honda reported a sales jump of 4.2 percent in June, powered by an 18 percent gain in light trucks. The Honda CR-V posted record June sales and the Honda Odyssey recorded a 6.5 percent increase.

Hyundai tweeted that it posted its "best June sales ever at 67,502 total units sold" and said it was the "best June sales in history for Elantra."

Volkswagen reported that car shoppers are flocking to the Volkswagen Golf family. VW of America June sales were up 5.6 percent over 2014 with diesel models accounting for 24 percent of sales.

Edmunds says: Healthy June car sales set the stage for what should be a banner year for U.S. automakers and dealers.

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