DETROIT -- U.S. vehicle sales grew 0.3 percent in June from a year ago, as rebates and cheap loans overcame the lethargic economy to keep the industry on track for its third-best year ever, industry executives and economists said Tuesday.
General Motors Corp.'s sales in June were down 3 percent and Ford Motor Co. was down 6.6 percent, while the Chrysler Group was up marginally by 1 percent. Imported brands for the most part continued strong growth, many of them double-digit for the month, chipping away at the domestics' market share.
For the first six months of the year, the U.S. vehicle market was down 4.6 percent from last year's blistering pace, which set a record for annual sales. Significantly, the traditional Big Three were down 9percent, while imports jumped 5 percent from January-June of last year.
"The incentives and a better consumer mood have overcome the continuing sluggish economic growth," said Paul Taylor, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association.. "Consumers are spending strongly, but more cautiously, as they weigh higher gasoline prices in their vehicle choice."
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