Jeep deliveries rose 58% to a new, all-time monthly record

Jeep deliveries rose 58% to a new, all-time monthly record

May’s Memorial holiday weekend and extra selling day helped automakers move 1.6m cars and light trucks, an 11.3% jump over May 2013.

Last month’s seasonally adjusted annualised rate (SAAR) came in at 16.77m units, 1.29m better than last May and 730,000 more than April 2014. It was the highest reading since July 2006 and the third consecutive month over 16m.

Chrysler Group racked up its 50th consecutive month of sales growth as Jeep deliveries rose 58% to a new, all-time monthly record. Chrysler brand sales were down: the new 200, which began arriving on dealer lots last month, isn’t expected to make a significant impact until July.

Negative publicity didn’t affect General Motors customers: GM sales rose 12.6% with all four brands in the black. Volume leader Chevrolet posted the largest gain with sales up 14.2% driven by sales of the Camaro, Cruze and Impala.

Ford sales rose just 2.7% in May as weak F-series pickup sales blunted an 11.8% increase in Lincoln brand sales. Sales of the F-series were down 4.3% which is critical as it accounts for about 30% of total Ford brand deliveries. Ford sales are now in the red for the year, down 1.1%.

Toyota had a big month as Camry sales neared the 50,000 mark. Total car sales were up 20.6% in May. With a 21.1% increase in Lexus sales, Toyota’s May total rose 17.0%.

Rising Accord and Civic sales helped American Honda post a 9.0% improvement in May.

Nissan brand car sales jumped 28.8% in May as sales of the Sentra and Versa soared. Nissan’s upscale Infiniti line finished 31.2% ahead of last May.

Mitsubishi sales were the best in three years, climbing 54.2%, while Mazda enjoyed its best May in 18 years. Subaru set a new monthly sales record as Forester sales increased 40.5%.

Hyundai and Kia reported new all-time monthly sales records. Sales of Hyundai’s premium Genesis and Equus sedans were up 24.2% and 26.1%, respectively, and Kia delivered 227 of its pricey new K900.

Mercedes-Benz reported another monthly record but BMW took the top spot in the premium segment in both monthly and year to date sales. In fact, Mercedes dropped to third for the month as Lexus passed it with its best showing since the Japanese tsunami and earthquake in 2011.

Audi set its 41st consecutive monthly sales record, passing Cadillac to take fourth place among the upscale brands. While Audi couldn’t give away the A3 hatchback with Cracker Jack [an American brand of snack consisting of molasses-flavored candy-coated popcorn and peanuts, well known for being packaged with a prize of nominal value inside - ed], the A3 sedan is hot. Porsche’s new Macan overcame slumps in Boxster, Cayman and Cayenne sales to deliver a 17.3% gain. Unfortunately, Volkswagen’s ongoing sales slide wiped out those gains and VW group was one of only two automakers to miss its May 2013 numbers.

Volvo was the other.

Tata Motors' Land Rover enjoyed a record May, selling more SUVs than Lincoln, while the Jaguar unit's sales slipped 9.1%.

Estimated incentive spending rose across the board compared to April 2014. GM was the biggest spender but the average was up 0.7% compared to last May and up 3.5% compared to April.

June sales are typically lighter than May’s and it has one less selling day this year so the focus will likely be on a healthy SAAR as automakers hope for a 16m unit year.

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