Overall, auto sales were down a bit in May, though there certainly were a few bright spots in the industry. For instance, the Chrysler Group, which consists of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, posted a 10-percent sales gain for the month when compared to the same period a year ago, led by strong sales of its Jeep brand. Grand Cherokee sales were up 192 percent, while the Compass (up 92 percent) and Patriot (up 80 percent) also made big gains.
The star of the Chrysler show, however, is undoubtedly the Dodge Durango. Sales of the reborn 'ute shot up 217,800 percent... though that's not terribly enlightening since Dodge only sold two Durangos in May of 2010.
Chrysler's strong sales, combined with an extremely poor showing (albeit not entirely its own fault) from Toyota allowed the Pentastar brand to slip into the number three sales spot behind General Motors and Ford.
The Korean conglomerate of Hyundai and Kia similarly performed very well, knocking Honda out of the fourth spot. Projections that the Korean duo would outsell Toyota, however, fell short by less than a thousand units.
Volkswagen sales are hitting their stride as well, with the new 2011 Jetta (16,671) leading the way.
Japanese brands took the brunt of the sales hit in May, due in large part to fallout from the earthquake and tsunami that hit the island nation hard in March. Of the three major Japanese automakers, Toyota was hit the hardest, down over 30 percent. Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, fared ever worse, down nearly 45 percent from May of last year.
Fuel efficiency continues to sell cars like the Ford Focus (22,303), Chevrolet Cruze (22,711) and Hyundai Elantra (20,006). What's more, Eco editions accounted for about 15 percent of all Cruze sales, and Volkswagen reports that its TDI diesels managed to snag 22.2 percent of its share.
And finally, the Ford Explorer earned 13,318 sales, its highest tally in nearly four years, proving what a genuinely good redesign can do for a neglected nameplate.
|Brand/Company||Vol. %||May-11||May-10||DSR %*||May-11||May-10|
|Jaguar Land Rover NA||13.38||4,162||3,671||22.82||173||141|
|Ford Mo Co||-0.08||192,102||192,253||8.25||8,004||7,394|
|Toyota Mo Co||-33.43||108,387||162,813||-27.88||4,516||6,262|
*Brands and companies are displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 24 selling days in May 2011 versus 26 selling days in May 2010, so the change in monthly sales volume will be different than the change in average daily sales rate (DSR) for each brand/company. Also, brands are combined and reported as companies only if their sales figures are released jointly.