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June Auto Sales Surpass Expectations

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July 3, 2014—Automakers around the world have reported better-than-expected U.S. auto sales statistics for June, bringing the industry back to pre-recession levels.

Sales rose 1.2 percent in June, beating analyst expectations that the U.S. would see a 3 percent decline, according to Reuters. The seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate hit nearly 17 million vehicles, the highest since the July 2006, industry consultant Autodata Corp said.

The growth suggests that car buyers are still buying, despite the string of recent recalls and investigations, including General Motors’ (GM) more than 28 million recalls this year.

GM said it had its best June in seven years, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), selling nearly 267,500 vehicles. The increase was primarily driven by demand for the company’s new SUVs, fleet sales and its Buick brand.

John Krafcik, president of car shopping site, told Reuters that consumers are suffering from recall "fatigue" and tuning out the onslaught of bad news from GM and other automakers. In addition, he said, GM's sales remain strong in part because consumers focus on brand names such as Chevrolet and Buick rather than the corporate name "General Motors."

Ford delivered more than 222,000 vehicles in June, which is down 6 percent from a year ago, but still better than analysts were anticipating, according to Forbes

Chrysler reported U.S. sales of over 171,000, bringing it up 9 percent from last year, making 2014 the company’s best June since 2007, Forbes reported. The jump was largely driven by the Jeep brand.

Low interest rates and a brighter economic outlook drove U.S. new-vehicle sales higher for most major automakers in June, reported WSJ, and industry executives say demand remains on track to finish the year with U.S. new light-vehicle sales of more than 16 million.

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