US auto sales hit 9-year high in May

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

DETROIT (AP) — Brisk de­mand for SUVs and pickup trucks — and five sunny week­ends — pushed U.S. auto sales to a nine-year high in May.

Chrysler, Nis­san and Toy­ota all re­ported dou­ble-digit sales gains over last May. Even Gen­eral Mo­tors, bat­tling bad pub­lic­ity from a mis­han­dled re­call, sur­prised with a 13 per­cent sales in­crease.

Ford’s sales rose a bet­ter-than-ex­pected 3 per­cent, while Hyundai’s were up 4 per­cent. Of ma­jor au­tomak­ers, only Volk­swa­gen’s sales fell.

May is tra­di­tion­ally a strong month for the auto in­dus­try, as buy­ers spend their tax re­turns and think ahead to sum­mer road trips. This year’s cal­en­dar, with five week­ends, gave it an ex­tra boost. Sales were par­tic­u­larly strong the last weekend of the month, au­tomak­ers said.

Sales rose 11 per­cent to just over 1.6 mil­lion in May. That was the high­est monthly to­tal since July 2005, ac­cord­ing to Kel­ley Blue Book.

The surge helped erase doubts about the strength of the in­dus­try. Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary sales were weaker than ex­pected as con­sumers spent more time shov­el­ing snow than shop­ping.

“It’s the con­tin­ued re­cov­ery in the sum­mer sell­ing sea­son,” said Jeff Schus­ter, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of fore­cast­ing for LMC Au­to­mo­tive, an in­dus­try con­sult­ing firm. “Kind of ev­ery­thing align­ing in the month of May.”

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