General Motors Co's sales fell considerably due to the plunge in sales of fleet and production issues at numerous plants, affecting the supply of popular sellers. But auto analysts and company officials are still hopeful that the industry will end the year by selling more new cars and trucks than any other year.
According to Autodata Corp, automakers sold 1,536,276 vehicles, down 6 percent from the same month a year ago, in May this year. "The sky is not falling," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with Autotrader.com. "The industry has been selling at an amazing rate for a long time ... so we're just not seeing the growth. But bear in mind sales remain at very lofty levels and we may well set another new record."
Three automakers in Detroit had varying May results. GM and Ford Motor Co. sales fell year-over-year, with GM down 18 percent and Ford down 6.1 percent, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV managed to eke out a 1.1 percent gain. GM's May market share fell to 15.7 percent from 17.9 percent a year ago.
The sales of Fiat Chrysler sales were driven by Jeep. Jeep posted a 13.7 percent increase in sales, its best monthly sales ever. The sales of FCA's Alfa Romeo rose 10 percent while sales of Ram trucks were flat. Fiat fell 18.9 percent, Chrysler fell 18.5 percent and Dodge fell 5.4 percent. Ford said the drop of sales was due fewer selling days but the month played out as expected.
"Year-to-date, the industry's up about 1 percent over a record year," said Erich Merkle, Ford's sales analyst. "We still think the industry is quite healthy."