(MoneyWatch) Toyota Motor reported a 60 percent sales gain for June over a year ago when its supply was constrained by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. General Motors, up 16 percent over a year ago and Ford with a seven percent gain continued their strong results for the first half of 2012.
Chrysler Group did even better than its two Detroit-based rivals, with June sales up 20 percent over the same month a year ago. The total sales of 148,811 vehicles results in the best June since 2007 -- before the financial crisis and Chrysler's bankruptcy and bailout.
Overall June auto sales translated to a selling level of about 14 million vehicles for all of 2012. Volkswagen, which has had a very strong year, was up 34 percent for June and 35 percent for the first half of the year. In the luxury market, Audi sales were up 26 percent over a year ago and were the strongest monthly sales in the 42 years Audis have been sold here.
GM vice president for sales Kurt McNeil expressed satisfaction in strong sales for the company's newest vehicles, the Buick Verano and the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic.
At Ford, the 2012 Escape small SUV -- about to be replaced by a redesigned 2013 model -- notched the biggest sales month ever in the Escape's history.
At Chrysler, sales of the company's Fiat division -- still being introduced to American consumers -- continued to rise, with more Fiat 500 cars sold in the first six months this year than in all of 2011. Jeep also continued strong 2012 sales. The Jeep Wrangler set an all-time monthly sales record and the Jeep Grand Cherokee posted sales gains of more than 30 percent over last year.
With market share, the companies are expected to remain little changed from May with General Motors at 18.4 percent, Ford at 16.2 percent, Toyota at 25.2 and Chrysler at 11.2, according to a forecast by Edmunds.com.