General Motors June Sales hike

General Motors Co. said its June U.S. sales rose 11% to 195,380 from the same month last year, which included four brands the auto maker has since discontinued or sold. But sales were down from May as the car industry’s gains earlier this year eased. Sales of the four brands GM is keeping after its restructuring Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac climbed 36% in June from a year ago. The company credited strong sales of crossovers and some recovery for trucks and sport-utility vehicles. Don Johnson, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales, said the resurgence in large pickup-truck sales was a key factor behind June’s results.

Chrysler Group LLC, meanwhile, is expected to announce a 30% year-over-year increase in June sales when it releases its figures later Thursday, said a company executive. The increase means Chrysler sold more than 88,750 vehicles for the month. The auto maker sold 68,297 cars and pickup trucks in June 2009.  This is the second month of improved sales for Chrysler, which exited bankruptcy protection a year ago last month. In May, Chrysler’s sales rose 33% to 104,819. It was the first time the auto maker broke the 100,000 threshold in 14 months.

Chrysler is aiming to sell 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. this year as part of its recovery plan outlined by Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne. The company had sold 434,731 cars and trucks through May 31.

GM Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell on Tuesday said the company was well positioned to profit as the industry recovers because of the dramatic cost cuts the company achieved through its bankruptcy reorganization. Of the four continuing GM brands, Buick and GMC led the way in June, with sales rising 53% and 45%, respectively. Sales at the much bigger Chevrolet and at Cadillac jumped 32% and 39%, respectively. GM said total combined sales of those brands were 194,828 for the month, the ninth straight month of year-over-year gains.

GM’s U.S. vehicle inventories stood at about 438,000 as of the end of June, up 7.4% from a month earlier but 25% lower than year-earlier levels. GM is running plants across North America at near full capacity, portraying itself as a fundamentally different company than the one that filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago. Other auto makers will report June U.S. sales later Thursday.

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