U.S. light-vehicle sales rose 14 percent in June, with major automakers posting some of their smallest gains of the year amid signs of sagging consumer confidence and a cloudier economic outlook, reported Automotive News.
Ford Motor Co.'s 13 percent advance from June 2009 was its smallest monthly increase since November. General Motors Co. recorded an 11 percent increase, its second-smallest in the year's first half. Industry sales on a seasonally adjusted annual basis were 11.1 million, the lowest since February.
"Recent economic news continues to point to a slow recovery with some volatility," said Steve Carlisle, GM's vice president of global product planning. "The recovery will be sluggish and continue to boost vehicle sales, albeit modestly."
Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said the entire industry struggled as weakening consumer confidence weighed on sales. His recall-plagued company was up 7 percent in June, its second straight month in that range after incentive-spurred sales surges in March and April.
American Honda's 6 percent gain was its first increase below double digits in five months.
The results show the challenge the industry will have in sustaining comparisons to 2009, when the weakest demand in nearly 30 years sent GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy. For the first six months of the year, U.S. light-vehicle sales were up 17 percent over 2009.
In the first half of 2009, the SAAR failed to top 10 million. June's 11.1 million pace is below what most automakers have forecast for the year.
At Ford Motor, the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands were up a combined 16 percent, while soon-to-be-sold Volvo fell 29 percent.
GM recorded its sixth straight monthly gain despite having shed four of its eight brands since its 2009 bankruptcy. GM's surviving U.S. brands -- Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC -- had combined sales of 194,828, up 36 percent over a year ago.
Chrysler Group reported a 35 percent sales increase. Subaru gained 16 percent in posting its 13th straight monthly gain. And the Hyundai Group, which includes Kia, jumped 28 percent last month.