June Sales Rev Engines Of Detroit Automakers

U.S. automakers have reported the best monthly selling rate since December 2007. Japanese firms also saw gains.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. Well, here's some better news for automakers. In June, cars and trucks sold at a rate close to pre-recession levels. The Detroit automakers all saw gains, as did the big Japanese firms.

Here's NPR's Sonari Glinton.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: There is one number that's important to auto executives, and that number is...

JESSICA CALDWELL: The SAAR.

GLINTON: Come Again?

CALDWELL: The SAAR, the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate.

GLINTON: OK, that's Jessica Caldwell, she's a senior analyst with Edmunds.com, and she's going to help me explain this all.

CALDWELL: The seasonally adjusted annual rate gives us an idea of how the month is performing in the larger context of the entire year.

GLINTON: So here's the context: The year has been a very good year for the business, and even for this very good year, June was a very good month.

If we took this Jim and replicate it for all the months of 2013, auto sales would be at a level slightly lower than we were pre-recession, but really close.

CALDWELL: The SAAR for June, 15.9 million. And if car and trucks keeps that pace for the rest of the year, then the industry is back.

GLINTON: Karl Brauer with Kelley Blue Book, he says there's a reason that you should be excited by the SAAR, and much of it has to do with strong trucks sales.

KARL BRAUER: What's good is that truck sales touch other elements of the economy, so when they're doing well it is a more strong indicator that the economy is doing well. I think that's why people are excited right now.

GLINTON: An excitement both analysts predict will continue - along with strong car and truck sales.

Sonari Glinton NPR News.

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