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Light-Vehicle Sales Jump 9%

Sales of cars and light trucks in the U.S. market surged to 1.40 million units in June from 1.29 million a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp.

Volume pushed the market’s annualized sales rate to 15.96 million units from 14.38 million in May 2012. It was the strongest June pace in six years and helped boost first-half sales 8% to 7.83 million vehicles.

Among the traditional domestic brands, sales last month rose 7% to 264,800 units at General Motors, 13% to 234,900 vehicles at Ford and 8% to 152,600 units at Chrysler.

America’s demand for vehicles from Asian-based companies climbed 10% to 618,800 units. Growth was led by Toyota (+10% to 195,200 units), Honda (+10% to 136,900) and Nissan (+13% to 104,100). Asia’s only sour note: Hyundai-Kia’s volume was virtually flat at 115,500 units.

Mazda sales surged 13% to 22,500 units. Subaru’s volume skyrocketed 42% to 39,200 vehicles in May.

European brands boosted their combined June sales 7% to 131,800 vehicles. Market leader Volkswagen saw its volume shrink 3% to 37,000 vehicles. But that decline was more than offset by increases at BMW (+25% to 27,100 units), Mercedes-Benz (+8% to 26,400) and Audi (+8% to 13,700).

U.S. sales of light trucks advanced 11% to 695,800 units in June. Demand for passenger cars grew 8% to 708,600 units.