June auto sales in the US continued at a healthy pace for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 13.9m light vehicles, according to Edmunds.com.

Edmunds said that the projected SAAR indicated that sales gained more steam than expected at the end of the month after Edmunds.com projected a slower rate earlier this month.
“While 13.9 SAAR is not as impressive as the performance in the first quarter of this year, this month’s results are still strong, considering that deferred demand following last year’s earthquake has virtually dried up,” said Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. “But the healthiest sign for the industry is the pure volume of sales. June is expected to be the third highest-selling month since May 2008.”
Edmunds.com estimates that 1,270,901 new cars will be sold in June. The projected sales would be a 4.7% decrease from May 2012, but a 20.7% increase (unadjusted for number of selling days) from June 2011.

Edmunds.com estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 11.3m vehicles in June, with fleet transactions accounting for 19% of total sales.

Japanese OEM bounce-back continues 
Edmunds also said that every major automaker will report fewer month-over-month sales in June. But Japanese automakers Toyota (+66.3%) and Honda (+50.9%) will demonstrate the biggest year-over-year sales success of any of the Big 6 manufacturers this month. The results, however, will be misleading to casual observers, thanks to depressed sales last year in the wake of the Japanese earthquake.

In terms of market share, the top automakers will remain relatively flat compared to last month. The biggest shift will be seen by Toyota, whose share is expected to fall 0.7 percentage points from May. Year-over-year market share changes will again reflect the struggling state of earthquake-ravaged Japanese automakers last June, with Toyota and Honda each regaining much of their lost share, Edmunds said.

Earlier this week, TrueCar.com forecast a June market SAAR of 13.6m new car sales, up from 11.5m in June 2011 and down from 13.8m in May 2012. It also said the industry average incentive spending per unit will be approximately $2,432 in June 2012, which represents an increase of 1.5% from June 2011 and decrease of 4.8% from May 2012.

"Average incentive spending for all automakers will hit its lowest levels this month since last year in the months following the natural disasters in Japan and prior to that since January 2007," said Kristen Andersson, Senior Analyst at TrueCar.com. "Toyota will post strong retail sales this month while decreasing incentive spending as consumers continue to snap up the popular Camry, Corolla, and Prius."

TrueCar.com also projects a big recovery for Toyota and Honda.

"The remarkable recovery of Toyota and Honda continued in June," said Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Market Intelligence for TrueCar.com.

Toprak also said that the US market is on track to exceed 15m units in the year as a whole.

"Uncertainty in the financial markets brought selling rates below 14m units for the second month in a row. Despite the relative slow down in the last few weeks, the first half sales results this year indicate a relatively healthy car industry; perhaps the brightest spot in an otherwise struggling U.S. economy. We expect second half of 2012 to average around 14.5m units, which will take us to over 15m new cars sold in 2013.