Car Sales Rev Up in May with 11.3 Percent Increase

Jun 04, 2014 05:02 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

May was a good month for car sales, the top seven automakers surpassing analysts' expectations amid increased consumer demand.

For the U.S., carmakers reported 1.6 million in new auto sales for the month of May as the American economy continued to recover, Reuters reported. Last month, the auto industry had its strongest annual sales rate since before the 2008 recession.

Analysts had predicted about a 7 percent rise in sales.

"What we're seeing is certainly beyond expectations," Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com, told the Detroit Free Press.

Industry sales saw an increase of 11.3 percent to 1,606,264 vehicles, according to the Reuters analysis. General Motors and Chrysler reported their strongest May sales in seven years, while Nissan and Hyundai set sales records for that month.

"Industry sales in May soared as consumer confidence improved and demand for new vehicles continued to strengthen," said Bill Fay, group vice president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, as quoted by Reuters.

Despite GM's recall woes, the automaker still enjoyed strong sales for May, increasing 12.6 percent to 284,694 vehicles as all four company brands posted sales increases. The sales were "well above" the predictions of nine industry analysts, according to Reuters.

Ford's May sales rose 3.0 percent to 254,084 vehicles, while Chrysler sales increased 16.7 percent to 194,421. Toyota reported a 17 percent jump in sales to 243,236. Honda sales increased 9 percent to 152,603; Nissan sales rose 18.8 percent to 135,934; and Hyundai-Kia had an 8.5 percent rise in sales to 130,994.

Kelley Blue Book reported that the average transaction price for a new vehicle last month was $32,307, an increase of $653 year-over-year, although slightly fallen from April.

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