Auto sales kept solid pace in June, analysts say

U.S. automakers are expected to report an increase in June sales amid a strong economy and robust demand for SUVs. Those results will begin rolling out Tuesday ahead of the Julu 4th holiday.

The industry sold an estimated 1.52 million new cars, trucks and SUVs last month, according to Edmunds. That would reflect a 3.4% gain versus June 2017, although sales were on pace to slow down compared to May.

Jeremy Acevedo, manager of industry analysis at Edmunds, said strength in the U.S. economy has created a “very thick forcefield” for automakers, offsetting headwinds such as rising interest rates and weak sales of passenger cars. He also noted the historically high number of people who owe more money than their cars are worth.

“June sales look a bit healthier than they actually are because there was an additional selling day and weekend this year,” he said, adding that sales likely fell on a daily selling rate basis. “This is exactly in line with how the rest of this year has gone: Sales look strong, but there are other factors at play that make this success a bit fragile.”

GM is seen posting a 5.6% increase in monthly sales. Edmunds projected gains for most automakers, including Ford (0.8%), Toyota (3.5%), Fiat Chrysler (7%) and Honda (3.7%).

Cox Automotive, the parent company of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, estimated that June sales across the industry rose at a more modest pace of 2.1%. But it raised its full-year forecast slightly to 16.8 million vehicles sold, citing a stronger first half of the year than expected.