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No surprise, June auto sales were good. Surprise, they were better than we thought

Robust U.S. auto sales have been helping to keep a floor on the U.S. economy for months, and they kept up the good work in June.

Car sales surpassed the expectations of many analysts.   

The good news included Detroit car companies.  Ford sales rose 7% and Chrysler sales jumped 20% compared to June a year ago.

General Motors sales increased nearly 16%.

GM's Kurt McNeil says he expects a good second half of the year, too.

GM will introduce five new vehicles in the coming months and McNeil says that will boost sales, despite less than stellar economic news like slow job growth and declining consumer confidence.

"There are headwinds," freely admits McNeil.  "We think those headwinds will continue.  However, in spite of that, we're still looking at moderate, gradual economic growth."

GM is end-loaded for new vehicle launches this year.  The company just launched the new Chevy Malibu, Cadillac ATS and Cadillac XTS.

Later this year, the Chevy Sonic will go on sale, as well as the new GMC Terrain and Acadia, and an all-new Buick called the Encore.

Meanwhile, on the non-domestic front, Toyota led U.S. sales with an increase of 60% over last June.

The Japanese automaker has almost fully recovered from last year's tsunami.   Honda, also buffeted by that tsunami, had a sales increase of 49%, and Subaru sales rose 40%.%49 

Nissan's sales rose 28%; Hyundai was up 8% and Kia up 14%.

Volkswagon sales rose 34%.

American consumers are jittery, with a recent decline in consumer confidence.  But it appears that the vast pentup demand will continue to be released through the end of 2012, no matter what happens in Europe, or the U.S. presidential election.

The average age of cars on the road is 11 years - an all-time high. 





Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.