US car makers report strong sales figures for May

GM Corvette Image copyright GM
Image caption GM said sales of its Chevrolet Corvette were particularly strong in May, as well as sales of its SUVs

US car makers reported strong sales figures for May, helped by five sunny weekends in parts of the nation.

Chrysler said sales were up 17%, driven by its Jeep brand which saw sales jump 58% after it introduced new models.

General Motors reported a 12.6% rise in sales compared with the same period last year.

Ford posted a better-than-expected 3% increase in sales, helped by increasing demand for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) as well as its Fusion sedan.

Ford saw its truck sales drop 4% as it cut back on incentives in preparation for the launch of its new F-150 pick-up truck, which is the best-selling vehicle in North America.

Ford also said it was shutting down some truck plants for a total of 13 weeks in an effort to plan for the launch and manage inventory of the new truck, which features a lighter body for better fuel mileage.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Chrysler said that sales of its Jeep brand vehicles were particularly strong in May

Extra time

May is traditionally a strong month for car sales in the US.

This May in particular was helped by an extra weekend, which saw particularly strong sales.

GM shares rose more than 3% on the news, before falling later in the day.

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GM appears not to be suffering from a mishandled recall, which resulted in a $35m (£20.8m) fine for the company last month.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Board (NHTSA) said it was the single highest civil penalty ever levied as a result of a recall investigation.

Foreign car makers also saw strong US sales, with Japanese car makers Toyota and Nissan reporting double-digit sales increases.

Of the major car manufacturers, only Volkswagen saw its sales fall.

Demand for the German car makers vehicles slumped 15%, partially as a result of a pause before the launch of a new Golf compact car.