By Kelsey Mays on July 2, 2012
Sales for major automakers improved more than 20% over a dismal June 2011 as the hardest-hit brands during last year's Japan earthquake recorded huge year-over-year gains. Toyota gained 60.3%; Honda picked up 48.8%, and Nissan added 28.2%. Not that the Detroit Three stayed behind: Ford sales improved 7.0% last month, while GM and Chrysler both piled on double-digit gains of 15.5% and 20.3%, respectively. On strong gains for the Jeep and Chrysler brands, Chrysler reported its best June since 2007 and its 27th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
The results made for a similar list of best-sellers to last month, with one swap — the Ford Escape for the Honda CR-V. The Escape improved 28.0% with a slight uptick in year-over-year incentives as the redesigned 2013 Escape trickled into dealerships, but the 2013 might be a hard find. The prior-gen 2012 Escape still outnumbers its sharp-looking successor by more than a 4-to-1 ratio on Cars.com's national new-car inventory, and Ford sales chief Ken Czubay said each 2013 Escape takes just five days to sell.
Elsewhere, family cars picked up plenty of steam. Lighter year-over-year incentives did little to dampen interest in the Toyota Camry, which gained 50.2%. On higher incentives and inventory versus a year ago, the outgoing Ford Fusion gained 17.4%, even as a redesigned Fusion hits Ford dealerships this fall. Its Chevrolet Malibu competitor, meanwhile, saw sales spike 32.3% as GM fed the redesigned 2013 Malibu Eco into the pipeline. Other trims will launch late this year, so June sales were a mix of the Eco and all versions of the prior-gen 2012 Malibu, which still takes up two-thirds of the nameplate's new-car inventory on Cars.com. Honda has yet to release full details on its redesigned 2013 Accord, but the 2012s flew off the lots, with sales up 84.1%. Despite a modest sales gain, the Nissan Altima — at one point the second-best-selling car in America — hasn't made this list since March.
Increasing luxury sales could be pulling the tide of overall car prices higher. A number of premium brands gained steam: Cadillac gained 11.6%, Buick and Audi rose more than 25%, Infiniti soared 66.2% and Acura jumped 76.5%. Lexus sales doubled. CNW Automotive Research reports the average new car in June still sold for $32,085 after incentives. That's down $297 from May but up $2,466 from June 2011. Shoppers are spending more — despite four consecutive months of falling consumer confidence amid renewed fears of economic headwinds.
A couple newbies entered the fray. Dodge Dart and Cadillac XTS sales kicked off; the XTS was June's fastest-selling mainstream car. How many did they sell? Dodge delivered 202, while Cadillac moved 753.
Here are June's top 10 best-selling cars:
Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey