High demand for pickup trucks and SUVs and five weekends of sunny weather helped to push auto sales in the U.S. to a high of nine years during May.
Toyota, Nissan and Chrysler all announced sales gains of double-digits over May of last year. General Motors, which is battling negative publicity due to a recall blunder, surprised with an increase of sales over last May of 13%.
Ford said sales were up 3%, which was better than expected, while sales at Hyundai were 4% higher. Of all major automakers, the only sales that fell for May were those of Volkswagen.
May traditionally is a strong sales month for autos, as buyers use tax refunds for down payments and look ahead to possible road trips during the summer.
Sales were strong in particular over the final weekend of May, said automakers.
Honda’s sales were up by 9% led by the Accord, which is made in Ohio and was up over 19%.
A general manager of senior vice president at Honda said that with spring finally here across the nation, CR-V, Accord and Civic sales have started to bloom.
While Honda enjoyed a strong month, sales at the Japan-based company have been essentially flat over the course of this year, with just an increase of 0.3% through the first five months.
Industry sales overall were up 11% with 1.6 million units sold in May, the highest total for one month since July of 2005, according to an industry expert.
The boost in sales has helped to erase the doubts many had about the auto industry strength. In January and February, auto sales were weaker than had been expected as potential buyers spent more time staying warm or shoveling snow than they did shopping for new cars.
Industry experts believe June will be similar to May. Sales in May were pushed by pent up demand from the severe winter. The summer months should be strong due to other reasons such s low rates of interest, good deals on leases and interesting and attractive new vehicles.
In May, no big discounts were needed by automakers to boost their sales.
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