By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY
General Motors just reported that its June sales rose a healthy 16% over the same last month last year, the company's highest sales since September 2008.
Each of its divisions, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac all reported double-digit increases.
"Across the board, June was a strong month for GM," said Kurt McNeil, vice president for U.S. sales.
"The combination of new products, available credit, lower fuel prices and modest economic growth was a stronger influence on consumer behavior than economic and political uncertainty."
The sales lift was spread evenly between cars, up 12%, and trucks, up 11%. Some of the stars were the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse, both with double-digit gains. GM says it is also looking forward to sales gains from new models just hitting showrooms, like the Cadillac XTS that arrived during the month and the Chevrolet Spark minicar, due in August.
Combined sales of all seven Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac crossovers were up 30% versus a year ago. That's great news for GM, since they are generally higher profit vehicles than cars.
Ford Motor sales rose 7% in June with strength in sales of crossover SUVs and pickup trucks as gas prices have moderated.
Ford sales are increasing across the company's lineup - with cars up 3% and crossovers and trucks both up 9%.
In particularly good news for Ford, its two most important vehicles both set sales records in June. The just-redesigned Ford Escape set a record with sales up 28% while the Ford Fusion sedan, which is about to get replaced by a newer version, also set a record. In addition, Ford Explorer sales were up 35% from last year.
The nation's best-selling vehicle, the F-Series pickup truck, saw its sales rise 11% and they topped 50,000 for the first June in five years.
"June was a good month for Ford and a particularly strong month for vehicles like Escape, Fusion, Explorer and F-Series," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "The new 2013 Escape also is off to a very strong start, with vehicles selling on dealer lots in less than five days - even topping the strong start of the new Explorer in 2010."
Chrysler Group reported a 20% sales increase, its best June since 2007.
Best of all, it saw gains in each of its divisions -- Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck, and Fiat -- compared with the same month a year ago. Chrysler Group recorded its 27th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains in June:
The Fiat had its fifth consecutive month of record sales. More Fiat 500 vehicles were sold during the first six months of this year than during all of 2011.
The 2013 Dodge Dart compact car has started to arrive in dealership showrooms across the country.
"Continuous improvement remains a key focus at Chrysler as we have steadily increased sales, improved quality, added production and created jobs," said Reid Bigland, CEO of Chrysler Group sales.
For the third time in the last 12 months, the iconic Jeep Wrangler set an all-time monthly sales record.
The Dodge Avenger mid-size sedan, which is being discontinued; the Dodge Challenger muscle car, and the Dodge Journey full-size crossover each set a sales record for the month of June. So did the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan.