DETROIT — U.S. auto sales grew at the fastest pace in eight years in June, surprising the industry and setting it up for a strong second half of the year.
Sales rose 1.2 percent over last June to 1.4 million cars and trucks, according to Autodata Corp. GM, Toyota, Hyundai and Nissan all saw increases over last June. Honda sales were flat, while sales at Ford and Volkswagen were down.
June’s annualized sales rate — which estimates annual sales if they stayed at the same pace every month — was 16.98 million. That was the fastest pace since July 2006 and higher even than May, which also surprised the industry with its strength.
Jesse Toprak, an auto analyst for the car buying site Cars.com, said buyers are out because of low interest rates, a strong stock market — which improves confidence — and great new vehicles. An easing in lending standards is also adding more potential buyers to the market.