US Auto Sales: Japanese automakers post strong gains in May but some miss estimates image

Japan’s major automakers on Friday reported high gains in new car sales in United States.

Auto sales are among the earliest indicators of demand in global economies and U.S. auto sales have proven to be a bright spot while negative headlines from euro zone countries dims the outlook there.
Incentives, which reduce the price of a vehicle for consumers, also have risen slightly.

Earlier Friday, the Labor Department’s May jobs report came in much weaker than expected, with only narrow job gains and a slight rise in unemployment. A rise in Americans with jobs can be a major impetus in demand for cars due to the need for transportation to get to work.

Toyota has come roaring back in May with 202,973 vehicles sold which is a jump of 87%.

The hike reflects a return to normalcy for the Japanese automaker that saw its inventory cut drastically a year ago in the wake of a disastrous earthquake and tsunami. However, that disappointed analysts who had estimated a 93% sales gain as the company continues to recover from last year’s natural disaster in Japan.

Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. said the automaker achieved 41 consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth, selling 14,249 units in May. Through the first five months of the year, Hyundai’s sales have risen by 4.7%.

Nissan posted a 21% increase for the month, selling 91,749 vehicles, but fell short of analysts who had forecast a 29% sales rise.

Analysts cited by the Bloomberg said automakers might have to rely more on incentives to attract consumers in coming months as the demand to replace aging cars held through the recession slackened and economic worries increased.

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