Last month, car shoppers proved that because of the current strength of the job and housing market, that they are unbothered by increasing interest rates and high fuel prices. Buyers continued to purchase new vehicles at a steady climb. Ford Motor Co. executives said that the sale of new vehicles in the U.S. rose by an estimated 2 percent in May. Last month’s sales greatly benefitted from Memorial Day sales. Stephanie Bringley, principal automotive analyst at HIS Markit says, “May appears set for a year-over-year gain in volume, which will be welcome with declines over the past three months.”
In terms of individual automaker sales, Fiat Chrysler reported a 11% May sale increase to 214,294 vehicles. Their retail deliveries of 167,785 vehicles were the highest since July 2005. Ford also reported a total sales increase of 0.7 percent to 242,824. General Motors does not report monthly sales; however, industry analysts estimate that General Motors sales rose about 10 percent last month. Honda Motor Co reported a 3.1 percent increase in May sales, compared to last year’s May sales, to 153,069.
Toyota Motor Corp, on the other hand, saw a sales dip of 1.3 percent and, Nissan Motor Co also saw a decrease in sales of 4.1 percent to 131,832 vehicles. Nissan’s Nissan brand reported a 3.8 percent decrease in sales and their Infiniti brand saw 7.1 percent decrease. Finally, Hyundai sales were up 10.1 percent to 66,056 vehicles and the Hyundai sister brand, Kia, was up 1.6% to 59,462 vehicles.
All in all, U.S. auto sales have been fickle this year – low in February, high in March, low again in April. Industry experts credit this to consumers continuing to shift away from sedans into trucks and SUVs, which are general more expensive with a higher profit return. Ford had estimated that industry-wide retail car sales were down 10 percent, with SUV sales up 13 percent.