If you are in the market for a new car, get in line. Sales in May 2014 broke records for models ranging from entry level to luxury, with a strong showing for fuel efficient clean diesels and light duty trucks.
Even General Motors, suffering through on-going revelations and lawsuits from the defective ignition switch in older Chevy, Saturn and Pontiac models, reported increased sales.
Edmunds said May was the best month for new car sales since May 2007, when the economy began its nosedive. Car sales were so bad for the next two years that both Chrysler and GM filed for bankruptcy protection within weeks of one another in 2009.
What’s driving the desire for new wheels? The economy has improved, so there’s what’s called “pent up demand” from those of us who have been hanging onto Old Breakdown longer than we wanted to. That includes small businesses which rely on light pick-up trucks, including for the resurgent market for new housing.
Just about every automaker is claiming record sales in the US, or close to record sales in May, if not for the entire brand, then at least for its most popular models. In no particular order:
Best sales in a decade, with records for Fusion, Escape and Lincoln MKZ. Although its sales dropped slightly last month compared with May 2013, the F150 truck continues to be the best-selling vehicle in the US, with fuel-efficient V6 EcoBoost engines now accounting for nearly half of sales. Shown: 2015 Ford Mustang.
Best sales month in six years, with the all-new Corolla and best-selling Camry leading the way. Prius hybrid models, including the newest plug-in version, also posted double-digit sales gains over May 2013. Toyota’s Lexus brand did well, too, with sales up more than 21 percent over the previous May. Shown: 2014 Toyota Prius.
Best sales month in its 73 year history in May, the third consecutive month of record sales in both the US and worldwide. Chrysler’s Ram truck sales were up nearly 15%, while Chrysler itself was down an embarrassing 25% compared with May 2013. That should improve when the all-new 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger muscle cars get to dealerships. Shown: 2014 Jeep Cherokee
Sales were up nearly 20% over May 2013. As usual, the sales leader was the popular Altima sedan. Nisan’s Infiniti luxury division did even better, with a 31% year-over-year improvement. Nissan also reported the best-ever sales month in May for the Nissan Leaf electric, which now has sold more than 50,000 vehicles in the US. Shown: 2014 Nissan Leaf.
Record sales worldwide, with the Panamera sport sedan accounting for just over one-third of all sales. The new small Macan SUV isn’t on the list yet, because it launches later this year. Shown: Porsche GT3.
More than half of new Volkswagens sold in North America last month were Jetta and Passat models, with the TDI Clean Diesel accounting for the largest chunk of Passat sales. The month before, in April, sales of all VW diesel models in the US set a new sales record. The growing popularity of diesels is why VW and sibling Audi are increasing the availability of diesel models long popular in Europe. BMW also is adding a new 7 Series diesel to the US line-up, the turbo-charged long-wheelbase 740Ld. Shown: 2014 VW Beetle
Overall US sales were up nearly 11%, far better than sibling Hyundai was down slightly. Kia is moving upscale with the launch of the new Kia K900 luxury sedan. Shown: 2014 Kia Forte
Even General Motors, suffering through months of negative front page news from defective ignition switch in older Chevrolet, Saturn and Pontiac models, reported 13% increased sales. The increase was pushed by Chevy core models Cruze and Impala, not by Buick or Cadillac. Shown: 2014 Chevrolet Impala
Let’s hope the sales momentum continues.
What are you driving?