Nissan, Toyota and Chrysler set the pace for the industry again in May, posting their second consecutive month of double digits gains. Aided by a five-weekend month, the industry overall posted its first double-digit gains in 2014 – an 11 percent year-over-year growth – pushing the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) to 16.5 million.
Nissan’s 19 percent sales increase also set a May U.S. sales record for the brand – the 14th monthly record its set in the past 15 months. Powering the strong month was the May U.S. sales records also set by each of the brand’s core models – Altima, Sentra, Rogue, Versa and Juke.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Chrysler Group each posted a 17 percent year-over-year increase, with the latter marking its 50th consecutive month of gains. Jeep led the gains for the group with a 58 percent increase, followed by Ram with a 19 percent increase. The automaker’s overall gains came despite a 22 percent drop from Chrysler brand sales.
General Motors showed no ill effects from their on-going recall controversy, posting gains for a second straight month thanks to growth from all its brands. The automaker’s 13 percent year-over-year sales increase in May was nearly double that of its April increase. Meanwhile, chief rival Ford Motor Co. saw a 6 percent increase in sales, powered primarily by a 21 percent bump in Lincoln sales.
American Honda had its strongest month in 2014 with 9 percent growth, including a 2 percent growth from the Acura brand. Despite the growth, Honda is flat on the year overall. However, the manufacturer can look forward to upcoming release of the redesigned 2015 Fit to help bolster its numbers in the second half of 2014.
Despite a strong 26 percent growth in the Audi brand, Volkswagen Group continued its 2014 slump with a 3 percent decrease in sales. The overall lag was led by a 15 percent drop from the VW brand. On the year, the VW brand is down 12 percent compared to the same period in 2013.
Rounding out the German automakers, both BMW and Merdeces-Benz posted gains in May – 17 percent and 9 percent respectively. Fellow luxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover posted 17 percent growth overall, led by a 28 percent surge in the Land Rover brand.
Subaru, while still posting double-digit gains, had its lowest month of growth in 2014 with an 11 percent year-over-year increase. The automaker is still on pace to break its annual U.S. sales record, which was set by October of 2013.
Other notable manufacturers in May were Hyundai, Kia and Mazda. Hyundai set an all-time monthly sales record with just a 4 percent sales increase, thanks to the sale of 70,097 vehicles. Kia’s month of 15 percent growth marked the first time the automaker has sold over 60,000 vehicles in a month in the U.S. Mazda, meanwhile, finished up 23 percent compared to May 2013.