Top U.S. automakers reported an increase in June sales, as consumers continued to lap up sport utility vehicles in larger numbers amid rising tensions between the United States and its trade partners.
The escalating tensions led to a fall here in U.S consumer confidence in June, and weighed on purchase plans for big-ticket items such as automobiles.
No. 1 U.S. automaker General Motors (GM.N), which stopped reporting monthly numbers beginning April, said its sales rose 4.6 percent to 758,376 for the quarter ended June, helped by strong truck sales and a wave of all-new crossovers.
“Customers are buying with confidence because the economy is strong and they expect it to remain strong,” said Kurt McNeil, GM U.S. vice president, sales operations.
Ford, the No. 2 U.S. automaker, said it sold 230,635 vehicles in June, compared with 227,979, a year earlier. Sales of Ford brand SUVs grew 8.1 percent to 77,453 vehicles, and were a record for the month, the company said.
Toyota Motor’s (7203.T) June U.S. sales rose 3.6 percent to 209,602 vehicles, led by RAV4 and Highlander sport utility vehicles.
The Japanese automaker said its Toyota and Lexus divisions posted best-ever light truck sales for June in the United States.
Fiat Chrysler said its monthly U.S. sales rose about 8 percent to 202,264 vehicles, led by the Jeep brand, which notched its best month of June with a 19 percent increase.
A poll of economists by Reuters showed expectations of a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.0 million vehicles for the U.S. auto industry in June.