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May New-Car Sales Rebound for Most Automakers as Consumers Flock to Showrooms

By: Jeff Youngs, 6/3/2014

"Business is fabulous," said Michael Foote, a general manager at Lia Automotive Group in Albany, N.Y., in this week's edition of Automotive News about May 2014 auto sales. Five weekends, an extra selling day, and Memorial Day sales events helped produce big sales gains last month for nearly every car company. Compared with May 2013, last month's sales represent a 12% year-over-year gain, causing some analysts to revise full-year sales forecasts to between 16.5 million and 17.0 million total units.

Highlights: May 2014 Car Sales
When comparing year-over-year sales, nine auto brands improved by 20% or more. Among brands, Jeep sales increased the most at 58%, prompting Mark Winstead, sales manager at Machens Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Columbia, Mo., to tell Automotive News this week: "Jeep is always a hot product [and] people want SUVs."

Other brands with significant gains in May include Mitsubishi (54%), Infiiniti (31%), Land Rover (28%), Audi (26%), Bentley (23%), Mazda (23%), Lexus (21%), and Lincoln (21%). The news wasn't all good, however; year-over-year sales declined for eight brands: Chrysler, Jaguar, Mini, Scion, Smart, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

Following are the May 2014 year-over-year sales results for each major automaker, presented in alphabetical order by manufacturer group:

American Honda--Sales were up 9% in May. Honda rose 10% thanks to strong demand for the Accord, Civic, and CR-V. Acura increased by 2%. A redesigned Honda Fit is about to hit showrooms.

BMW Group--BMW Group sales increased 13% over May of last year, due to a 17% increase in sales of BMW and a 6% increase for Rolls-Royce. Mini sales were down by 4%.

Chrysler Group--May was the 50th consecutive month that Chrysler Group posted a year-over-year improvement in sales, this time up by 17%. All divisions reported increases except for the Chrysler brand, which declined by 22%. Jeep posted a 58% increase; Ram, 19%; and Fiat, 18%.

Daimler AG--Daimler AG sales rose 8% on the strength of a 9% increase for Mercedes-Benz. Smart stumbled by 16%.

Ford Motor Company--Sales improved by 3% at Ford Motor partially due to a 21% increase at Lincoln. The Ford brand increased by 2%.

General Motors--All GM divisions reported sales improvements in May, for a total increase of 13%, the biggest gain of the year for the company. Chevrolet was up by 14%; Buick, 11%; GMC, 8%; and Cadillac, 6%.

Hyundai Group--Sales at Hyundai Group rose by 9% thanks to a strong showing by Kia, which enjoyed a 15% jump. Kia sold more than 60,000 vehicles in May, the first time the brand has ever surpassed that sales threshold in a single month. Hyundai sales improved by 4%, with the Equus, Genesis, Santa Fe, and Tucson the big gainers.

Jaguar Land Rover--Total sales at the luxury automaker were up 17% thanks to Land Rover, which increased by 28%. Jaguar sales were down by 9%.

Maserati--Maserati notched another month of significant sales gains, showing a 406% increase compared with May 2013.

Mazda--Mazda volume increased by 23%, the company's vice president of sales crediting Memorial Day sales for driving showroom traffic right through the end of the month.

Mitsubishi--Mitsubishi continued its rebound in May with a 54% increase, compared to the same month in 2013. The company's least expensive models, the Outlander Sport and Mirage, are credited with fueling the improvement.

Nissan Group--Sales at the Japanese automaker climbed by 19% this past May, with Infiniti improving by 31% and Nissan brand sales increasing by 18%. Nissan reported that its key models are driving sales growth: Altima, Juke, Rogue, Sentra, and Versa.

Subaru--Subaru sales increased by 11%, compared with May 2013, in advance of the redesigned 2015 Legacy and 2015 Outback models arriving in showrooms.

Tesla--Tesla Model S sales were down by 6% in May, compared with the same month in the previous year.

Toyota Group--Toyota's overall sales rose by 17%, and Toyota brand sales also increased by 17% on demand for the popular Camry, Corolla, and Prius. Sales for Toyota's Lexus luxury division improved by 21%, while Scion sales were down by 6%.

Volkswagen Group--Overall Volkswagen Group sales fell by 3% in May, mainly due to a 15% drop for the Volkswagen brand. Audi jumped by 26%; Bentley, 23%; Porsche, 17%; and Lamborghini, 4%. The overall decrease in sales for the German automaker reflects the 14th consecutive month of sales decline for Volkswagen as a company.

Volvo--Volvo sales fell by 21% in May, compared with the same time last year. Volvo is preparing to launch a redesigned XC90 SUV soon, and has wound down production of the C30 and C70 models.

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