Auto sales: Chrysler, GM, and Ford bounce back in May

Auto sales soared in May thanks to a strong Memorial Day weekend sales. GM reported its best monthly sales since 2008 despite an ongoing recall crisis, while auto sales for Chrysler shot up 17 percent. 

Carlos Barria/Reuters/File
Chevrolet cars are seen at a General Motors dealership in Miami, Florida in 2010. General Motors had its best monthly sales since August 2008, despite its current recall crisis.

Automakers reported new  post-recession records and overall gains in May US auto sales after a strong Memorial Day weekend, showing a comeback in the auto industry since the winter slowdown.

General Motors had its best monthly sales since August 2008, despite having recalled almost 13.8 million vehicles in the US this year. GM reported its best May in  nearly six years and saw 13 percent increase in May compared to last year.

“The momentum we generated in April carried into May, with all four brands performing well in a growing economy and 17 vehicle lines posting double-digit retail sales increases or better,” Kurt McNeil, GM’s US vice president of sales operations, says in the company's report. 

Chrysler Group LLC reported its US auto sales increased by 17 percent last month in its best May since 2007. Chrysler’s Jeep, RAM Truck, and FIAT brands all reported gains.

Ford Motor Company’ US sales were up three percent from a year ago. Ford Fusion and Escape reached their best monthly sales records ever, helping the company’s overall sales, vice president John Felice says in Ford's report. However, Ford truck sales slightly dipped from 88,450 in May 2013 to 87,749.

Nissan Group also saw a jump in US sales. The automaker reported a 17.8 increase in May, setting a record for the month.

Toyota also had its best month in six years. Toyota sold 243,236 vehicles last month, a 12.6 percent increase from May 2013, according to a preview of its report. 

Automakers across the board also saw gains in electric car sales, though the number of vehicles sold is still small. Nissan sold 3,117 Leaf vehicles, an increase of 45.8 percent over the last year. GM’s Chevrolet Spark sales doubled since last May. Ford didn’t disclose sales for its Focus Electric model, though US sales for the Focus were down by 23.7 percent over the prior year.

To pay for these vehicles, buyers are borrowing more than ever. The average amount financed for a new vehicle loan grew to $27,612 and the average monthly payment is $474, according to a Experian Automotive report. The average length of an automotive loan grew to 66 months, while the number of loans with terms of six to seven years grew by 27.6 percent.

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