DAVID GREENE, HOST:
OK. Well, here's some better news for automakers. In June, cars and trucks sold at a rate close to pre-recession levels. The Detroit automakers all saw gains, as did the big Japanese firms.
Here's NPR's Sonari Glinton.
SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: There is one number that's important to auto executives, and that number is...
JESSICA CALDWELL: The SAAR.
GLINTON: Come Again?
CALDWELL: The SAAR, the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate.
GLINTON: OK, that's Jessica Caldwell, she's a senior analyst with Edmunds.com, and she's going to help me explain this all.
CALDWELL: The seasonally adjusted annual rate gives us an idea of how the month is performing in the larger context of the entire year.
GLINTON: So here's the context: The year has been a very good year for the business, and even for this very good year, June was a very good month.
If we took this Jim and replicate it for all the months of 2013, auto sales would be at a level slightly lower than we were pre-recession, but really close.
CALDWELL: The SAAR for June, 15.9 million. And if car and trucks keeps that pace for the rest of the year, then the industry is back.
GLINTON: Karl Brauer with Kelley Blue Book, he says there's a reason that you should be excited by the SAAR, and much of it has to do with strong trucks sales.
KARL BRAUER: What's good is that truck sales touch other elements of the economy, so when they're doing well it is a more strong indicator that the economy is doing well. I think that's why people are excited right now.
GLINTON: An excitement both analysts predict will continue - along with strong car and truck sales.
Sonari Glinton NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.