Positive sales numbers for America's international auto industry during May fueled a sense of cautious optimism that the U.S. auto industry is undergoing a steady, yet gradual recovery. Industry-wide sales have demonstrated a significant improvement during every month of 2010, with May 2010 sales up 19.1 percent over May 2009. During the month of May, Subaru and Mazda led international nameplates in demonstrating the biggest improvements with both up 35.2 percent. Hyundai continued its positive streak with sales up 32.8 percent while Nissan saw gains of 24.1 percent. Toyota sales were up 3.6 percent, a modest improvement when compared to other automakers. The world's number one automaker, however, did sell the most vehicles of any international brand with 140,597 units. Honda came in second with 105,407 units. General Motors led all U.S. sales with 223,410 units sold, 38 percent of which were fleet sales.
"May continued the auto retail industry's gradual recovery," said AIADA president Cody Lusk. "Manufacturers and dealers are leaner and smarter than they have ever been before, and the results are in the sales numbers."
International Brands Hold Biggest Chunk of Market Share
According to numbers from Autodata Corp., international brands sold 582,658 vehicles in May, up from the 540,077 units sold in April, but down from 607,383 units in March. International brands continued to occupy a majority of the U.S. auto market, holding 52.9 percent of May's auto sales, down from the 55 percent share they held in April. Asian brands accounted for 45.1 percent of the U.S. auto market, a slight dip from April's 46.5 percent, while European nameplates held 7.8 percent, down from 8.5 percent in April. Domestic brands completed the month with 47.2 percent of the market.
Top Selling Vehicles
Out of the top 10 selling vehicles in May, six were international nameplates, remaining unchanged from April and March. The Toyota Camry regained its spot as the top selling car in America, moving into the third place slot, up from fifth place the previous month. The Honda Civic also moved up two spots into fourth place. The Honda CR-V slipped off the top ten list to number 13. Overall, the Hyundai Sonata showed the biggest year-over-year improvement with sales up an impressive 91.7 percent over May 2009. All of the top ten vehicles, with the exception of the Toyota Camry (down 6.5 percent), averaged year-over-year sales gains of 34.4 percent, up from 28.2 percent in April.
Americans purchased 316,698 SUVs and crossovers in May, more than any other vehicle segment, and up from the 281,695 purchased in April. The midsize segment clocked sales of 286,190, up from 254,214 in April. For the month overall, Americans purchased 566,955 cars and 535,944 trucks. Asian nameplates sold 314,188 cars and 182,950 trucks, while European nameplates sold 62,926 cars and 22,594 trucks. Domestic nameplate sales totaled 189,841 cars and 330,400 trucks for the month of May.
Overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, were up 19.1 percent from May 2009 and 17.2 percent for the year. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicles now stands at 11.63 million, an improvement from 9.86 million units in May 2009.
See below for a complete breakdown of May 2010 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.