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New-car sales pick up in June after sluggish May

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June 24, 2011 — Sales of new vehicles during the first half of June rebounded significantly from slow sales in May, according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates Report.

J.D. Power, which gathers real-time transaction data from more than 8,900 retail franchises throughout the U.S., projected June new-car sales to finish at 884,800 units for a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 9.9 million. That’s compared to May’s seasonally adjusted total of 9.3 million units.

The main drivers of the growth are sales of large pickups, which are at their highest level since February, and sales of compact cars.

“There has been some easing of negative variables in June, as the inventory shortage has not been as severe as expected, and gas prices have dropped noticeably from higher levels in April and May,” said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. “Provided that the economy decides to cooperate, the automotive summer slowdown will only be a speed bump, and a return of a measurable recovery pace is still expected in the second half of 2011.”

Total light vehicle sales in June are expected to reach more than 1.1 units, which is an 8 percent increase over June 2010. Fleet sales are expected to drop 9 percent in June compared to last year because of inventory shortages.

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