US auto sales on track for best June since 2005

The Nissan Motor Co. has recalled 60,000 Infiniti Q50 sedans over steering issue.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Robust sales of pickup trucks and SUVs put the U.S. auto industry on track to record its best June in more than a decade despite a dip in sales at General Motors.

Total vehicle sales came in at 16.7 million at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in June, versus a 17.5 million rate in May, according to Autodata.

Ford Motor said on Friday that its U.S. sales rose 6.4 percent to 240,109 vehicles in June, helped by strong consumer demand for its trucks.

"Consumer demand for Ford SUVs also continues to surge to all-time highs," Ford Vice President Mark LaNeve said.

General Motors, the biggest U.S. automaker, said its sales fell 1.6 percent to 255,210 vehicles due to lower sales of Buick and GMC vehicles.

However, GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem said historically low interest rates, stable fuel prices, rising wages and near-full employment would drive strong auto sales in the second half of the year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a 7 percent rise in June U.S. auto sales, while Nissan Group said U.S. sales for the month increased 13 percent, raising hopes that the industry may meet analysts' expectations of a nearly 5 percent rise in the month.

Fiat Chrysler said it sold 197,073 vehicles in June, compared with 185,035 a year earlier. The company said it was the group's best June sales in 11 years.

Nissan said the past month was its best June ever as U.S. sales rose to 140,553 vehicles from 124,228 a year earlier. Sales were led by higher demand for its Frontier pickups and Roguecrossover SUVs.

Honda's June U.S. sales were up 3.2 percent at 138,715 vehicles. Honda division sales in the U.S. were up 3 percent, or 127,363 vehicles.

Toyota's U.S. motor sales fell 5.6 percent, or 198,257 units from last year.

Marketing research firm J.D. Power and LMC Automotive expects U.S. light vehicle sales for June to rise 5 percent to 1.55 million.

There was one extra selling day in June compared with a year earlier.

However, J.D. Power, unlike, does not expect sales in 2016 to break the record of 17.47 million set last year.