US light vehicle sales up 8% year-on-year in May 2013

Article by Anita Panait, on June 4, 2013

Light vehicle sales in the United States surged 8 percent year-on-year in May 2013, thanks to higher pickup sales and higher retail demand.  Posting solid double-digit gains are Nissan Motor Co., Subaru, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group. Posting smaller gains in the month are Honda Motor Co., General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. Logging the only drop in sales in May 2013 is Mitsubishi.

The annualized sales rate, adjusted for seasonal factors, soared to 15.3 million in May 2013 from 14 million a year earlier. Carmakers attributed their strong sales performance in May to good demand for large pickups and crossovers and to increasing retail volumes. According to Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota Division, industry retail sales grew 9 percent -- the best monthly results since August 2007 -- and have now surpassed 1 million units for three months in a row.

Retail sales, despite being usually boosted by incentives, are inclined to result to more profits than fleet and commercial deliveries. Fay noted that higher industry retail volumes in May were helped by declining unemployment, more stable pump prices and low interest rates.

Fay expects the auto industry to be “stable and consistent” in the second half of 2013. The industry's 8-percent growth for May exceeded the 7 percent average estimate of 10 analysts polled by Bloomberg. Light truck sales soared 11 percent in May while car deliveries gained 5 percent. For the year through May, light vehicle volume has surged 7 percent, with car sales soaring 4 percent and light-truck deliveries gaining 11 percent. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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