DETROIT - General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Nissan Motor Co. all reported U.S. sales that exceeded analysts’ estimates in May. GM and Chrysler said industrywide sales were stronger than projected.
GM’s deliveries, helped by Chevrolet Cruze sedans and Silverado pickups, rose 13 percent to 284,694, the Detroit-based automaker said Tuesday in an emailed statement. That beats a 6.4 percent increase projected by the average of analyst estimates.
“The momentum we generated in April carried into May, with all four brands performing well in a growing economy,” Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. vice president of sales operations, said in the statement. The month marked GM’s best May in seven years and best since August 2008, the company said. Gains by GM suggest consumers are separating new models on the lot from the older small cars that make up the company’s 2.59 million recalled vehicles linked to at least 13 deaths.
GM with its new pickups, Ford with sport-utility vehicles and Chrysler with its Jeep brand were able to take advantage of a rising market buoyed by improved housing starts. The pace of U.S. home construction jumped in April to its highest level since November. Housing starts climbed 13.2 percent to a 1.07 million annualized rate following March’s 947,000 pace, the Commerce Department reported on May 16. Permits for future projects increased, a sign activity might accelerate in coming months.
Ford’s light-duty vehicle sales rose 3 percent to 253,346 last month, the Dearborn, Mich.-based company said in an emailed statement. The automaker’s sales were projected to decline 0.2 percent according to the average of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Nissan reported sales jumped 19 percent in May, beating estimates for an 11 percent increase.
Chrysler sales rose 17 percent to 194,421 vehicles in May, Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automaker said in a statement. The third-largest U.S. automaker was projected to report a gain of 14 percent, the average of eight analyst estimates.
“Our Jeep sport-utility vehicles and Ram pickups continued to do well in May as our dealers reported brisk May sales over five weekends and the Memorial Day holiday,” Reid Bigland, Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales chief, said in a statement. The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automaker’s Jeep brand gained 58 percent while its Ram pickups rose 17 percent increase, the company said.
Both automakers forecast an annualized sales pace higher than the average pace of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg who projected a 16.1 million selling rate pace, in line with full- year projections.