June U.S. auto sales to recede: Cars ailing, crossovers booming

June U.S. new-vehicle sales were expected to tick downward as the auto industry continues to step back from the record highs it celebrated in 2015 and 2016.

Despite expected increases in sales of crossovers, sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, automakers couldn't make up for plummeting sales of small cars and sedans.

Analysts at Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book projected industry sales declines of 2.3% and 3.6%, respectively, compared to a year earlier.

An uptick in incentives and credit — including the longest-term loans in the industry's history, according to Edmunds.com — wasn't enough to fuel an increase.

 

Still, at the current sales pace, automakers are reaping healthy profits as consumers remain confident and gas prices remain low. Prices averaged $2.24 per gallon on Monday morning, according to GasBuddy, in one factor contributing to the shift from cars into larger vehicles.

Here's how the major automakers fared during the month (all figures compared to June 2016):

General Motors

Edmunds.com projection: -1.8%

Kelley Blue Book projection: -1.3%

Actual results: -4.7%

GM sold 243,155 vehicles in June, regaining the industry lead after one month of slipping behind rival Ford.

But sales of Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac were down 6.4%, 3.6% and 11.8%, respectively. Only the Buick brand rose, with an increase of 16.4%.

The company said its retail sales fell 3% for the month.

Big performers included crossovers such as the Chevrolet Equinox, Chevy Traverse and Buick Envision.

Ford Motor

Edmunds.com projection: -5.5%

Kelley Blue Book projection: -9.7%

Actual results: -5.1%

The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker sold 227,979 vehicles in June. Retail sales were flat, but sales to fleet customers decliend 13.9%.

The company enjoyed a 3.2% increase in sales of SUVs and crossovers and a 1.2% increase in trucks, but car sales plummeted 23%, reflecting the general industry trend.

Ford's namesake brand fell 5.4%, while its luxury Lincoln lineup continued its hot streak with a 5.3% increase.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Edmunds.com projection: -10%

Kelley Blue Book projection: -7.6%

Actual results: -7.4%

Fiat Chrysler sold 187,348 vehicles for the month. The company's retail sales declined 5%. The automaker is rapidly reducing its previously heavy reliance on less-profitable fleet sales, which declined 15%.

Overall, Jeep sales fell 10.5%, Chrysler sales were down 15.2%, Dodge slipped 13.7%, Ram fell 6.5% and Fiat declined 3.7%.

Toyota

Edmunds.com projection: 0.1%

Kelley Blue Book projection: 0.9%

Actual results: 2.1%

The Japanese automaker exceeded expectations for the month, selling 202,376 vehicles. That included a 3.2% increase for the namesake Toyota brand and a 5.4% decrease for the luxury Lexus brand.

The company's car sales plunged 11.5% for the month. But sales of crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks boomed 15%.

That included a 24.7% increase for the RAV4 SUV, which replaced the Camry sedan as Toyota's most popular vehicle for the month and the first half of the year. Camry was down 9.5% for the month.

Toyota is also getting a boost from its new small crossover, the C-HR, with 3,100 units selling in June.

Honda

Edmunds.com projection: 1.4%

Kelley Blue Book projection: -2.7%

Actual results: 0.8%

The Japanese automaker's namesake Honda brand declined 1.3%, as its small cars struggled and the CR-V crossover underperformed due to what Honda called "low supply of higher trim" models.

But strong sales of the HR-V and Ridgeline balanced out the month for the Honda brand, which sold 139,793 units.

Meanwhile, the company's Acura luxury brand posted a sales increase of 23.7% to 14,038.

Nissan

Edmunds.com projection: -4.1%

Kelley Blue Book projection: -1.1%

Actual results: 2%

The Japanese automaker posted surprisingly strong sales for the month, with a total of 143,328 units.

The Nissan brand was up 1.2%, and the luxury Infiniti brand increased 11%.

The Nissan Rogue crossover, which is staking a claim for the crown as hottest vehicle in the industry, continued its meteoric streak with a 17.4% sales increase to 34,349 units.

Hyundai-Kia

Edmunds.com projection: -4.1%

Kelley Blue Book projection: -0.8%

Actual results: Not yet released

Volkswagen Group

Edmunds.com projection (VW and Audi brands): 13%

Kelley Blue Book projection (VW, Audi and Porsche brands): 9.1%

Actual results: The company's VW brand recorded a 15% sales increase to 27,377 units, aided in large part by sales of the brand new Atlas SUV. The company sold 2,413 Atlas vehicles for the month.

The company's Audi luxury brand posted a 5.3% increase to 19,416 vehicles.

Subaru

Edmunds.com projection: (none)

Kelley Blue Book projection: 7.3%

Actual results: Not yet released

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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