The broken record continues. Another sales month, and all eyes are on GM. When the automaker’s 2014 recall total long-jumped past the 20 million mark, we thought there was no way new-car sales could remain unaffected. Yes, we heard from industry experts that shoppers don’t pay attention to recalls like they used to, and anyone who owns a Chevy Cobalt isn’t in the market for a new car anyway. But given congressional testimonies and lawsuits galore, we expected shoppers to deal the General a sales defeat in June.
Related: 2014 American-Made Index
It didn’t happen. GM sales increased 1 percent, beating out Ford and Honda, each down 5.8 percent. A sales stoppage in late June on the Chevrolet Cruze, which GM recalled shortly thereafter, contributed toward a 20.9 percent decline for the popular compact, as did lower inventory for the car. Still, GM’s Buick and GMC divisions lifted overall sales for the automaker. And with half of 2014 now in the books, U.S. sales operations head Kurt McNeil said in a sales statement that GM saw its best half-year of retail sales (that’s sales to individuals, as opposed to commercial fleets) since 2008.
Shoppers in June fueled sales at Hyundai-Kia (up 2.2 percent), Toyota (up 3.3 percent), Nissan (up 5.3 percent) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (up 9.2 percent). Nissan, in particular, saw Sentra sales rocket 67.6 percent over a decent June 2013. At least some of that came from higher purchase incentives versus year-ago levels, but compact cars in general also saw a popularity surge. The segment’s popular nameplates gained about 10 percent across the board, led by the Toyota Corolla/Matrix (up 17 percent) and Ford Focus (up 13.5 percent). Gas prices, which inched upward throughout the month, may have sent more shoppers into the segment, too.
What happened at Ford? Pickup-truck shoppers shied away from the F-Series ahead of a 2015 redesign for the F-150, which accounts for about two-thirds of all F-Series sales. F-Series sales fell 11 percent, driving overall full-size pickup sales down 4.6 percent despite the housing sector in May posting another strong month — a key driver for pickup sales. Still, pickups have had an up-and-down year, so it’s too early to say there’s a plateau just yet.
None of June’s top sellers saw a huge uptick in purchase incentives, but the deals continue to improve. CNW Research says total automaker and dealer discounts increased $773 per car over the past year, so the average new car transacted for $32,281 in early June. That’s down 1.4 percent versus June 2013’s $32,747 — a trend we’ve observed for a few months now after years of rising prices.
Here are the top 10 best-selling cars in June 2014.