June Sales Rev Engines Of Detroit Automakers

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


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...


GLINTON: Come Again?

CALDWELL: The SAAR, the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate.

GLINTON: OK, that's Jessica Caldwell, she's a senior analyst with, 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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