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Chrysler's June sales jump 9 percent

DETROIT - Chrysler's U.S. auto sales climbed 9 percent in June on strong sales of the new Jeep Cherokee SUV and other models.

Chrysler sold just over 171,086 vehicles in the month in the company's strongest June since 2007, with gains for the Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Fiat brands.

Chrysler, which is the first major automaker to report its monthly sales, likely beat the rest of the industry in June. Of course, like General Motors (GM) and other carmakers, Chrysler is also involved in a major recall program, while Nissan (NSANY) is being investigated for unwanted acceleration problems. But so far at least, those recalls haven't slowed consumer purchases.

Car-buying site estimates overall sales will be up 1 percent over last June to 1.4 million cars and trucks.

The June sales pace is expected to have slowed slightly from May, which had more weekends and saw a boost from delayed buying after the long winter. But the June pace was still strong, TrueCar said.

Based on June sales, auto data firm LMC Automotive has raised its full-year U.S. sales forecast from 16.1 million vehicles to 16.2 million. That's up from 15.6 million in 2013.

LMC said automakers are carefully balancing production with demand, which helps them maintain profits. At the same time, buyers are taking advantage of lower interest rates on auto loans.

"The U.S. auto market is arguably in the best position and health it has been in since well before the great recession," said Jeff Schuster, LMC's senior vice president of forecasting.