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Auto sector stays resilient in times of tariffs and oil spike

Last month’s positive sales data came as a relief to automakers in the US, amidst apprehensions that the latest import tariffs would dampen the prospects of the sector. In June, most companies withstood the pressure from the used-vehicle market and rising interest rates while benefitting from the strong job market and tax cuts.  It is expected that besides political tensions, rising oil prices and the saturated market will drag sales in the coming months.

Among the leaders, Ford Motor (F), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), Toyota (TM) and Honda (HMC) posted better-than-expected sales for June. Meanwhile, Nissan defied the estimates for a decline by registering modest growth. Sales of General Motors (GM), the largest American automaker which no more provides monthly figures, moved up in the second quarter aided by strong demand for trucks and newly launched crossovers.

Meanwhile, the stocks including those of GM and Ford remained in the red on Tuesday, reflecting the downbeat market sentiment triggered by tariff woes.  The biggest loser was Tesla (TSLA), which failed to elicit investor confidence despite ramping up Model 3 production.

It is expected that besides political tensions, rising oil prices and the saturated market will drag sales in the coming months

Tesla (TSLA), which has been in the spotlight for the fuss over production deadlines, achieved more than 50% production growth in the second quarter for its mid-sized sedan Model 3, with output rising to 5,000 units per week towards the end of the quarter.

General Motors shipped a total of 758,376 vehicles during the quarter, marking a 4.6% increase from last year, on the strength of trucks and SUVs. Another contributor to GM’s growth was the Bolt electric car.

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With a market value that is second only to GM, Ford (F) surprised both investors and market watchers by posting a 1.2% growth in June sales to 230,635 units, contrary to expectations for a decline. As in the case of GM, trucks and SUVs did the magic for Ford.

Fiat Chrysler owes its above-consensus sales growth mostly to the company’s flagship brand Jeep. Overall, the Dodge maker sold 202,264 units in June, up 8% compared to last year.

The US sales of Japanese carmakers Toyota Motor (TM) and Honda (HMC) grew 3.6% and 4.8% respectively during June, while Nissan settled for a modest gain of just above 1%.

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