US: rising sales in May underpin a broad recovery image

Last month’s US sales topped analysts estimates, increasing by 11% to 1.61 million vehicles and the annualized pace, adjusted for seasonal trends, now stands at 16.8 million, a level reached last in February 2007.

The top three Detroit automakers all beat analysts forecasts, some by a good measure – as GM and Chrysler reported last month’s sales as their best May in seven years.

“We’ve had a lot of pent-up demand from the first quarter that was pretty soft because of weather conditions,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with researcher “There’s no question there’s a correlation between housing starts and pickup sales.”

General Motors looks to go on unaffected by the public scandal ensuing from the mistreatment of the 2.6 million cars recalled for defective ignition switches, as the automaker reported its sales grew 13% to 284,694 units.

Ford, the No.2 US automaker managed a more modest increase, with its light-duty vehicle sales growing only 3% to 253,346 vehicles in May, but that nevertheless beat the analysts forecasts which predicted a slight dip.

Meanwhile, the third largest US carmaker, Chrysler continues its winning streak, reporting a 175 jump last month to 194,421 cars, with the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company counting on the Jeep and Ram brands for the biggest gains.

Via Reuters, Bloomberg