US auto sales continued to grow at a solid pace in May with low fuel prices boosting demand for trucks and sport utility vehicles, industry data showed Tuesday.
“With the national average price of gasoline down nearly a dollar per gallon on average from one year ago, truck and SUV demand remains strong, elevating average transaction prices, especially for domestic automakers,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.
“We also saw incentives spending remain nearly flat in May, which shows the strength of the overall new car market.”
General Motors posted its best May since 2007 as sales rose three percent to 293,097 vehicles.
GM forecast that total industry sales would come in at a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 17.6 million vehicles in May once all automakers have reported.
Rival Chrysler was more optimistic, forecasting a rate of 17.9 million vehicles.
Chrysler posted its best May results since 2005 as sales rose four percent to 202,227 units.
Toyota sales were flat at 242,579 units.
Ford sales declined one percent to 250,813 in May, but the second largest US automaker said demand was strong for its newest products.
Ford announced plans Monday to cut its traditional summer shutdown in half to just one week at six of its plants in order to build an extra 40,000 units of its most popular trucks and SUVs: the F-150, Edge, Escape and Explorer.