Global car makers weighed down by the threat of tariffs could do with some good news, so a strong month for US car sales should have come as a relief. Alas, even this silver lining has a cloud. At face value, the market was alive and kicking in June, with most companies beating or at least meeting estimates. Even Nissan, which has been struggling in the US, reported a gain instead of the large sales decline predicted by analysts. Here’s the wrinkle: America’s obsession with gas-guzzlers means consumers are buying up models that are most exposed to President Donald Trump’s proposed duties on imported vehicles and parts, not to mention oil prices that are at a four-year high. Total light-vehicle sales rose about 2%. For the Japanese car makers, sales of light trucks — a segment that includes minivans, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickups — rose about 10.5% from a year earlier, while passenger cars dropped by roughly the same amount. Light trucks now account for almost 70% of all...

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