General Motors said on Wednesday that its new-vehicle sales in the United States increased 19 percent from April to June, the strongest sign yet that the auto industry was bouncing back from parts shortages and overcoming the effects of higher interest rates.
The automaker, the largest in the United States, said it sold 691,978 vehicles in the second quarter, the company’s highest quarterly total in more than two years.
Automakers have struggled in the last two years with a shortage of computer chips that forced factory shutdowns and left dealers with few vehicles to sell. More recently, rising interest rates have made auto loans more expensive, causing some consumers to defer purchases or opt for used vehicles.
“I’m not saying we are on the cusp of exciting growth here,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Cox Automotive, a research firm. “But we are now at a turning point where the auto market returns to more balance. It’s the beginning of returning to normal.”
Other automakers also reported solid quarterly sales. Toyota said its second quarter that U.S. sales rose 7 percent, to 568,962 cars and light trucks. Stellantis, the company that owns Jeep, Ram, Chrysler and other brands, reported a 6 percent rise, to 434,648 vehicles.
Electric vehicles remain the fastest-growing segment of the auto industry. Rivian, a maker of electric pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles, said on Monday that it delivered 12,640 vehicles in the second quarter, a 59 percent jump from the same period in 2022. And on Sunday, Tesla reported an 83 percent jump in global sales in the second quarter.
Cox estimated more than 500,000 electric vehicles were sold in the United States in the first six months of the year, and that more than one million will be sold in 2023. That would be the first time battery-powered cars and trucks will have reached that milestone in the country.