June was best month for car sales in 5 years

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 2 at 6:04 PM

TACOMA , Wash. - Maybe it’s the new F-150 pick-up, low interest rates or better gas mileage. Whatever the reason, more American cars sold in June than in any month since 2007.

Ford dealers reported a 13 percent increase in sales in June, compared to May.

Chrysler saw an eight percent jump and General Motors climbed six percent.

“I think happy days are here again,” said Wes Prewitt, General Manager of Titus-Will Ford in Tacoma.

Prewitt told KING 5 News his dealership has had a strong 2012 and the first half of 2013 has been even stronger.

“Dealers have gotten smarter and Ford’s gotten smarter,” said Prewitt, who credits more fuel efficient cars and low-interest rates for the steady increase in auto sales.

Prewitt also said customers who avoided dealerships during the recession are returning after gaining confidence in the economy.

“This seemed like a good time,” said David Rand who just bought his wife a Ford.

Rand said when his wife retired two years ago Rand he was reluctant to make a major purchase until he could see how living on his retirement and Social Security was going to work in a recovery.

He now believes there are signs the economy is improving.

“I think the market’s very stable,” said Rand, who added getting a 1.54 percent interest rate on the car sweetened the deal.

Results posted Tuesday by major automakers:

-- DETROIT BRANDS: GM's sales rose a better-than-expected 6.5 percent in June. In addition to pickups, the Chevrolet Cruze small car was a big seller, with sales up 73 percent over last June. Buick was GM's only brand than faltered, with sales down 4.5 percent. Ford's sales rose 14 percent on big demand for cars and the Escape small SUV, which had its best month ever. Chrysler gained 8 percent despite a public flap with the government last month over the safety of some older-model Jeeps. Dodge sales were up 12 percent and Ram sales jumped 23 percent.

-- JAPANESE BRANDS: Toyota's sales rose 10 percent thanks to strong sales of the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and the newly redesigned Avalon sedan, which nearly quadrupled its sales over last June. Honda's sales also rose 10 percent on solid demand for the Civic and Accord sedans as well as SUVs. Nissan's sales jumped 13 percent. The Altima and Sentra sedans both recorded double-digit gains. Sales of Nissan's electric Leaf quadrupled to 2,225 after the company lowered the price earlier this spring.

-- OTHERS: Volkswagen's sales dropped 3 percent, the third straight monthly decline for the German car company. Sales of the Passat and Jetta sedans were up, but the Golf dropped sharply as fans waited for a redesign expected later this year. South Korea's Hyundai had its best June ever, with sales up 2 percent. Elantra small car sales rose 26 percent and Santa Fe SUV sales were up 14 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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