GM, Ford June sales rise, Honda falls

By Tom Krisher

Associated Press

Published: Friday, July 1 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Shortages are keeping car prices high. That's likely to continue through September, J.D. Power said. In the meantime, hiring has slowed and incomes are flat. Consumer confidence — an important measure of whether or not cars will sell — slipped to a seven-month low in June.

"Things aren't quite as healthy in the current environment as expected earlier this year," said Jeff Schuster, J.D. Power's executive director of global forecasting.

One issue for automakers is the lack of small, fuel-efficient cars. Japanese automakers expect earthquake-related shortages of popular products like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic for several more months, and Detroit automakers can't meet the demand for small cars alone.

The industry began June with a 30-day supply of compact and subcompact cars, and inventory has only gotten tighter since then, Ford's top U.S. sales analyst George Pipas said. That compares to a 51-day supply of all cars and trucks.

Pipas said that instead of moving into mid-size cars, small-car shoppers are simply waiting. Both Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. have said they expect their North American production to be at near-normal levels by late summer, and more cars will get to dealerships soon after that.

Other automakers reporting Friday:

— Volkswagen AG said its U.S. sales rose 35 percent in June on strong demand for its Jetta midsize sedan and other models.

— Nissan said sales rose 11.4 percent on strong demand for smaller vehicles. Sentra compact car sales rose nearly 31 percent.

— Hyundai Motor Co. sales were up 15.6 percent, led by the Elantra compact car. The Korean automaker sold 59,209 vehicles in June, up from 51,205 a year earlier.

— Kia Motors Co. reported its best June ever with sales up 41 percent to 45,044. The hottest seller was the new Optima midsize sedan at 7,099. That's almost six times more Optimas than were sold a year earlier.

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