June 04, 2014

Vehicle sales surge in May

June 5, 2014 – Memorial Day weekend sales and pent-up demand drove May vehicle sales to the highest monthly pace seen since February 2007, according to a NAFCU Macro Data Flash.

NAFCU Senior Economist Curt Long analyzed data from Autodata Corp. for the report and found that total vehicle sales increased from April's rate of 16 million annualized units to 16.8 million annualized units in May, with sales levels up by 8.3 percent from a year ago.

"Memorial Day weekend incentives, pent-up demand and an improving labor market all helped fuel the positive sales data," Long wrote. "Overall, vehicle sales have been a key driver in the economic recovery and are expected to continue supporting the economy throughout the year."

Car sales increased from 7.6 million annualized units in April to 8 million in May, while light-truck sales went from 8.5 million annualized units in April to 8.7 million in May. Nissan saw the strongest gains in year-over-year numbers with an increase of 18.8 percent in sales, and Ford saw the smallest with an increase of 3 percent.

The U.S. brand share of the total vehicle market went down in May to 45.3 percent from 46 percent the previous month; however, the share of domestically assembled vehicles went up from 80 percent in April to 80.2 percent in May.