US auto sales in May in creased more than expected, thanks to increased demand for pickup trucks needed for the oil drillers and construction workers.
In May car and truck sales increased 8%, according to Autodata Corp, and the annual sales rate reached 15.3 million units, surpassing the 15.1 million rate predicted by analysts. Auto sales last month were helped by relatively stable gas prices and the increase in housing prices, which led consumer confidence to its highest level in more than five years.
“Equity value, home prices, security of jobs, rising income – all of those are supportive of consumer confidence,” said GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem. “But they also support vehicle sales, so that’s why we remain very confident in our outlook going forward for the auto industry.”
Sales of the Ford F-Series pickup truck, America’s best-selling vehicle since 1970, increased 31%, GM’s Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck jumped 25% and Chrysler’s Ram pickup truck was up 22%. Crossovers have also seen an improvement in May, with GM’s Chevrolet Equinox being the bright spot, followed by the Nissan Rogue, up 45%.
Still, although sales increased, GM’s market share dropped to 17.5% from 18.4% in 2012, with sales up 3% in May, being affected by a fall in sales to fleet customers, including rental agency, businesses and government buyers. Ford’s sales increased 14% and market share was up to 17% from 16.2%, Chrysler’s sales increased 11% and Toyota increased 2.5% in sales.