DETROIT -- From mini cars to monster pickups, sales of vehicles rose in June and eased concerns that Americans would be turned off by slower hiring and other scary headlines.

By midday Tuesday, most automakers reported big gains over June of last year. Chrysler posted its best June in five years. Sales surged at Volkswagen, which is on track for its best year in the United States since 1973.

The results appeared to allay fears that growth would stall after a strong start to 2012.

Here are the reports as of noon Tuesday:

-- Chrysler reported its U.S. sales rose 20 percent in June on strong demand across its lineup, from the tiny Fiat 500 to the Ram pickup truck. The automaker's sales increase was in line with expectations for overall industry growth of about 20 percent over last June. Sales were weaker last year because the Japanese earthquake depleted supplies.

-- General Motors Co. said its U.S. sales rose 16 percent in June on solid demand for small and midsize cars. Sales of the Chevrolet Volt electric car more than tripled over June 2011, to more than 1,700. GM also saw double-digit sales increases for the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse midsize cars. GM's best-seller, the Silverado pickup, was up 3 percent as housing construction continues to recover. GM said all truck and SUV sales were up 11 percent.

-- Ford Motor Co. says its U.S. sales rose 7 percent in June on strong demand for the new Escape SUV. Sales of the new Escape, which debuted last month, were up 28 percent. Ford said the Escape had its best month ever at 28,500 sold. It also Ford also saw strong sales for its Explorer midsize sport utility vehicle, which was up 35 percent. Ford's best-seller, the F-Series pickup, was up 11 percent as housing construction recovers.

-- Nissan Motor Co. said its sales were up 28 percent. Nissan's Infiniti luxury brand was up 66 percent thanks to the new Infiniti JX crossover.

-- Volkswagen's sales rose 34 percent on strong demand for two recently redesigned cars: the Beetle and the Passat. Volkswagen is on track to have its best year in the U.S. since 1973 thanks to a cheaper, revamped lineup.

Most analysts are sticking to their forecasts for improved sales this fall. "Although this softer sales rate may persist over the next few months, we believe that 2012, like 2011, will finish out strongly," Barclays analyst Brian Johnson wrote in a recent note to investors.

Earlier this spring, sales were on track to reach 14.5 million this year boosted by mild winter weather. The pace dropped to 13.8 million in May and is expected to stay below 14 million in June.

But carmakers said sales picked up the last week of June. New models like the Ford Escape and Dodge Dart -- which both arrived in dealerships last month -- helped draw out buyers. By early Tuesday, The Detroit Three all said they expected the sales rate to top 14 million.

"Despite a rising level of uncertainty with the economic recovery, consumers remain resilient in their willingness to purchase new vehicles," said Jeff Schuster, LMC's senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. Shuster is still expecting 2012 sales of 14.5 million.

There continues to be a lot of demand from buyers who bought cars in the middle of the last decade and need to replace them, Barclays analyst Johnson said. Annual sales hit a high of 17 million in 2005, and those cars are now seven years old.

Low interest rates and better credit availability will also lure buyers. The average interest rate on a 60-month new-car loan is now 4.5 percent, down from 6.98 percent two years ago, according to Bankrate.com. "The affordability of cars is probably at an all-time high," Chrysler Group sales chief Reid Bigland said last week.

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