General Motors’ U.S. sales rose 13 percent last month amid an escalating recall crisis, signaling that May was another month of robust consumer demand for the auto industry.
All four of GM’s brands increased sales as the automaker posted its biggest monthly gain of the year. Nissan Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Chrysler Group tallied their biggest gains of 2014 with double-digit increases in May. Hyundai Motor America advanced 4 percent and Ford Motor Co. was up 3 percent.
GM’s increase was double what had been projected by analysts. After a sluggish start, the automaker’s sales are now up 2.8 percent for the year.
Chevrolet led GM with a 14 percent gain, followed by Buick at 11 percent. GMC was up 8 percent, while Cadillac advanced 6 percent.
GM said its retail sales advanced 10 percent while fleet shipments rose 21 percent last month.
Nissan reported a 19 percent rise in May sales, its second straight month of double-digit gains with the Nissan brand setting a May record of 125,558 units sold, up 18 percent, and Infiniti volumes advancing 31 percent to 10,376.
The Altima, Sentra, Rogue, Versa and Juke-all core models-each set May U.S. sales records. Overall, the Nissan brand has now set sales records in 14 of the last 15 months.
Toyota Motor Corp. sales jumped 17 percent to 243,236 units. Volume rose 12 percent at the Toyota division behind strong Camry, Corolla, Prius demand, and Lexus deliveries advanced 17 percent.
Ford said its retail sales climbed 6 percent last month. Demand at the Ford division edged up 2 percent and Lincoln volume jumped 21 percent.
Three core models-the Accord, Civic and CR-V-helped Honda Motor Co. to a nine percent increase in May sales. Deliveries rose 10 percent at the Honda division and 2 percent at Acura. Honda officials, noting the launch of the all-new Fit this month, said the brand remains well positioned heading into the second half of the year.
At Chrysler, strong Jeep and Ram pickup demand helped propel the company to its 50th consecutive monthly advance.
Jeep sales, behind the new Cherokee and redesigned Grand Cherokee, surged 58 percent and Ram pickup deliveries climbed 17 percent.
Jeep deliveries have now jumped 30 percent or more for seven straight months. May also marked the first month ever that Jeep’s U.S. volume has topped the 70,000 mark, Chrysler said.
Sales rose 18 percent at the Fiat brand and 3 percent at Dodge, while volume slid 22 percent at the Chrysler brand.
Overall, Chrysler Group’s light-truck sales rose 38 percent while car deliveries dropped 27 percent.
Hyundai Motor America set an all-time monthly sales record in May of 70,907 units, up 4 percent over May 2013. It cited gains of 20 percent or more in sales of the Tucson, Santa Fe, Genesis and Equus.
Kia Motors America set a monthly sales record of 60,087 units, a 15 percent increase over May. May also marked the first time Kia has generated more than 60,000 in U.S. sales in a month.
May sales rose 17 percent to 5,840 at Jaguar Land Rover North America. Land Rover sales reached an all-time May high of 4,536 units, up 28 percent, while deliveries slipped 9 percent.
Volkswagen Group said sales at the VW brand slumped 15 percent and the brand’s U.S. deliveries have now skidded 14 consecutive months.
Audi reported deliveries of 16,601 vehicles, which is the brand’s second-best month ever and its 41st consecutive month of record sales. The U.S. launch last month of the Macan crossover helped Porsche set an all-time monthly sales record of 4,609.
Sales at Mitsubishi Motors Corp., driven by the Outlander Sport and revamped Mirage, rose 54 percent. It was the third consecutive month the company’s deliveries surged by 47 percent or more.
May deliveries were aided by five weekends of sales and generous Memorial Day deals that were extended through Monday, June 2, the cutoff point for last month’s sales count.
TrueCar estimated the average incentive per new unit sold last month rose 1 percent to $2,677 from May 2013, and jumped 3.5 percent from April. Hyundai-Kia, Honda and Volkswagen Group posted the biggest gains in deals over May 2013, while incentives dropped at Chrysler and Nissan, TrueCar said.
Mazda was another automaker that reaped dividends from strong holiday shopping that drove sales up 23 percent to 29,731 vehicles.
When the smoke cleared and all the numbers were in, the total sales for May 2014 were 1,609,678 versus May 2013 of 1,445,830, an increase of 11%. For the first 5 months of 2014, the total is 6,746,925 which is 5% higher than the first five months of 2013. At the May pace, sales for calendar year 2014 are projected at 16,900,000, the best year since 2000.