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Quick Take: Pickups Drive June Auto Sales

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Automakers have been revving up sales in 2013, Efraim Levy, senior equity analyst at S&P Capital IQ, told TheStreet's Gregg Greenberg Wednesday.

Ford (F) recorded an increase in June sales of 13.4%, higher than the 11.7% expected by Wall Street. Why the jump? Mainly, pickup trucks, Levy said.

The Ford F-Series posted a 24% increase in sales from a year ago. This was on top of stellar May results as well, providing aid to the argument that it was not a one time pop in sales.

But Ford isn't the only U.S. automaker posting impressive sales results. General Motors (GM), while having lower expectations, posted a gain of 6.5%, beating estimates of 2% from analysts.

So what does all of this mean? While truck sales are clearly a beneficiary from a resurgent housing market, compact car sales are also on the rise from fuel-conscious drivers, Levy noted. Combined with the younger generation entering the new car market, sales have seen a tremendous boost over the past six months.

But there's one thing overhanging the market: the prospect of higher interest rates. If rates go higher, it will make financing a new car more expensive for consumers.

However, Levy doesn't think there will a tremendous squeeze on sales, at least not yet. If rates rise 1%, we might see some lower participation among buyers he said, but overall, sales should remain strong.

He added that there is "a lot of room to work with consumers," meaning that the automakers can adjust certain aspects of the pricing and boost incentives if necessary.

-- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich.

Bret Kenwell currently writes, blogs and also contributes to Rocco Pendola's Weekly Options Newsletter. Focuses on short- to intermediate-term trading opportunities that can be exposed via options. He prefers to use debit trades on momentum setups and credit trades on support/resistance setups. He also focuses on building long-term wealth by searching for consistent, quality dividend paying companies and long-term growth companies. He considers himself the surfer, not the wave, in relation to the market and himself. He has no allegiance to either the bull side or the bear side.

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