U.S. auto sales were stronger than expected in May, boosted by Memorial Day promotions and strong demand for new SUVs.
Analysts had expected sales to fall by around 1%, but Tuesday’s sales reports were beating their expectations. Ford says overall sales likely grew around 1% over last May.
General Motors says its sales rose 3% over last May, while Fiat Chrysler’s sales rose 4%. Both automakers benefited as buyers continued a steady shift from cars into small and medium-sized SUVs. Sales of the Jeep Cherokee SUV were up 23%, while sales of the GMC Acadia jumped 67%.
Volkswagen surprised with an 8% sales gain. Ford’s sales fell 1% and Toyota’s sales were flat.
May is typically one of the biggest sales months of the year, as buyers flush with tax returns look forward to summer road trips. Last May, sales jumped 11% to 1.6 million, their highest monthly total in nine years.