Auto Sales on Pace for Gain Over Year Ago


U.S. June auto sales remained strong in June as sport utility vehicles and trucks again outpaced cars amid moderately low gasoline prices, automakers reported on Wednesday.

While Ford Motor Co's sales rose only 2 percent, it showed the largest increase in the market in the average price of its vehicles, industry consultant Kelley Blue Book said.

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Ford's SUV sales rose 10 percent but car sales fell 3.5 percent.

U.S. auto sales, often an early snapshot into consumer spending each month, are expected to rise about 5 percent for the industry. Truck and SUV sales will again grow at a faster pace than sedans, aided by the low gasoline prices.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. June auto sales increased 8 percent from a year ago, boosted by the continued strength of its Jeep SUV brand.

Nissan Motor Co U.S. sales rose 13 percent, led by a 54 percent increase in its popular small SUV Rogue.

Sales of Fiat Chrysler's Jeep brand jumped 25 percent in June.

Chrysler brand sales fell 28 percent, but its Chrysler 200 sedan sales rose 153 percent to 18,560 vehicles. Private industry data reviewed by Reuters showed that in the first half of the year, a large portion of Chrysler 200 sedan sales were to rental agencies.

Chrysler brand sales fell as Town & Country minivan production slowed as it transitioned to a new model.

Kelley Blue Book said the average price paid for a new vehicle in the United States rose 2.5 percent in June from a year ago to $33,340. Ford reported the highest gains in vehicle pricing, up 6.6 percent from last year, KBB said. (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)