Chrysler-Bar-Chart-JUNE (chart) second, larger version
Chrysler's first-half U.S. sale performance. IBTimes/Angelo Young

Chrysler Group LLC, a subsidiary of Italian company Fiat SpA (Milan:F), said Tuesday it sold 156,686 vehicles in the U.S. in June, an 8 percent year-over-year increase from June 2012 but a 5.9 percent drop from May, led by significant rises in the sales of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and continued strong demand for pickup trucks.

It was the best June since before the 2008-09 recession sent the auto industry into a tailspin. The sales numbers missed forecasts by leading auto intelligence providers and but were in line with estimates by Kelley Blue Book.

“Last month Chrysler Group set seven individual vehicle line sales records and achieved our 39th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth,” said Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s head of U.S. sales.

Sales in the Chrysler brand ticked up 1 percent year-over-year, with a significant decline in sales of the 300 luxury sedan, which fell 39 percent, to 4,280 units, a likely effect of General Motors’ new Cadillac XTS gaining traction in the market for U.S. luxury cars. Jeep gained 1 percent while Dodge brand sales increased 12 percent, largely due to rises in the Challenger muscle car and the Durango SUV. The Dodge Ram pickup's sales increased 24 percent to 29,644.