LeftLaneNews

In detail: Chrysler, Toyota saw big sales gains in May

Check inside for a much more detailed May sales report and analysis.

While below what some industry analysts had predicted, auto sales in May were still strong, with nearly all brands posting gains.

Many Japanese automakers enjoyed huge volume increases, with the largest gainer being Toyota at 92 percent. However, much of that eye-popping growth was due to the automakers' particularly weak May last year, when production cuts and inventory shortages caused by the tsunami in Japan were first felt.

Chrysler built on its strong performance in the first four months of the year with the biggest percentage improvement of any domestic automaker, though Ford and Chevrolet still led the field in terms of overall sales volume.

Note: This piece is a more expanded version of Friday's relatively limited sales report.

May's Numbers
Acura - Up 50 percent to 14,586
Audi - Up 10 percent to 11,503
Buick - Up 19 percent to 18,565
BMW - Up 7 percent to 22,168
Cadillac - Down 15 percent to 9,871
Chevrolet - Up 10 percent to 177,943
Chrysler - Up 81 percent to 29,674
Dodge - Up 14 percent to 45,793
Fiat - Up 128 percent to 4,003
Ford - Up 13 percent to 208,425
GMC - Up 19 percent to 38,877
Honda - Up 46 percent to 119,411
Hyundai - Up 13 percent to 67,019
Infiniti - Up 66 percent to 10,592
Jaguar - Down 15 percent to 1,075
Jeep - Up 24 percent to 44,198
Kia - Up 7 percent to 51,771
Land Rover - Up 19 percent to 3,438
Lexus - Up 61 percent to 21,463
Lincoln - Down 2 percent to 7,274
Mazda - Up 14 percent to 20,357
Mercedes-Benz - Up 19 percent to 22,515
MINI - Up 6 percent to 6,153
Mitsubishi - Down 26 percent to 5575
Nissan - Up 16 percent to 81,202
Ram - Up 23 percent to 26,373
Scion - Up 29 percent to 6047
Subaru - Up 48 percent to 29,724
Toyota - Up 92 percent to 175,465
Volkswagen - Up 28 percent to 38,657
Volvo - Down 15 percent to 6,246

Chrysler Group - Up 30 percent to 150,041
Ford Motor Company - Up 13 percent to 215,699
General Motors - Up 11 percent to 245,256
American Honda - Up 48 percent to 133,997
Hyundai Group - Up 7 percent to 51,771
Nissan North America - Up 21 percent to 91,794
Toyota USA - Up 87 percent to 202,973

2012 YTD Numbers
Acura - Up 10 percent to 14,676
Audi - Up 15 percent to 52,494
Buick - Down 9 percent to 71,347
BMW - Up 14 percent to 104,779
Cadillac - Down 15 percent to 50,688
Chevrolet - Up 5 percent to 781,564
Chrysler - Up 77 percent to 140,891
Dodge - Up 17 percent to 217,263
Fiat - Up 432 percent to 16,702
Ford - Up 7 percent to 898,761
GMC - Up 6 percent to 163,364
Honda - Up 10 percent to 518,608
Hyundai - Up 11 percent to 292,856
Infiniti - Up 7 percent to 43,941
Jaguar - Up 9 percent to 5,476
Jeep - Up 29 percent to 197,028
Kia - Up 19 percent to 237,381
Land Rover - Up 23 percent to 17,389
Lexus - Up 14 percent to 88,110
Lincoln - Down 1 percent to 34,418
Mazda - Up 20 percent to 123,886
Mercedes-Benz - Up 18 percent to 106,364
MINI - Up 6 percent to 26,064
Mitsubishi - Down 23 percent to 27,462
Nissan - Up 13 percent to 441,543
Ram - Up 20 percent to 117,373
Scion - Up 14 percent to 26,721
Subaru - Up 22 percent to 136,602
Toyota - Up 25 percent to 753,470
Volkswagen - Up 36 percent to 170,555
Volvo - Down 6 percent to 27,511

Chrysler Group - Up 33 percent to 689,257
Ford Motor Company - Up 7 percent to 933,179
General Motors - Up 2 percent to 1,066,963
American Honda - Up 10 percent 576,174
Hyundai Group - Up 19 percent to 237,381
Nissan North America - Up 13 percent to 441,543
Toyota USA - Up 24 percent to 868,300

The Domestics
Ford saw strong growth for its core models, with its bread-and-butter F-Series improving 29 percent, the Edge climbing 24 percent and even the soon-to-be-replaced Fusion posting a 9 percent increase. The Blue Oval's negative models were mainly discontinued vehicles like the Crown Victoria and the Ranger, although the Fiesta did dip by nearly 15 percent.

The picture was generally a positive one for GM as well, with the automaker reporting its highest sales volume since August 2009. While the usual suspects - the Chevrolet Silverado, Malibu and Equinox - all enjoyed double digit gains, the largest percentage improvement came from the Volt, which increased 249 percent to a still-small 1680 units. Buick finally turned a corner with a positive sales month, but Cadillac, with its line down to just three vehicles, continues to suffer.

It was the Chrysler Group, though, that saw the largest gains amongst the Big Three, with the Chrysler division itself posting an 80 percent jump. Strong-performing individual models were numerous, with highlights including the 300, up 140 percent, and the 200 and Dodge Avenger twins, up 87 and 93 percent, respectively.

The Asians
The tragic tsunami in Japan really began to adversely affect many Asian automakers in May of 2011. Though that period was an incredibly challenging time, it did set the stage for enormous year-over-year sales gains last month.

Toyot's overall numbers were up the most, and its trucks and crossovers increased by 59 percent. The automaker's cars, however, had the largest improvements, with the Camry up 94 percent to an impressive 39,571 units and the Prius family - which benefitted from the addition of the new Prius c - up by 186 percent to 21,477.

Buoyed by demand for the Civic and Accord, Honda output was up 46 percent, with the CR-V also recording a record sales month. Acura's new ILX found just over 200 buyers, but it didn't go on sale until the end of May. Its similarly fresh RDX, however, saw more than triple the demand of its predecessor.

Nissan, which was relatively unaffected by the natural disaster, posted more modest (but still strong) growth of 21 percent.The company's Infiniti division saw a big jump in demand and its new JX crossover became its second-best seller last month behind the G line.

Subaru broke its May record thanks to its redesigned Impreza, a model that is up 170 percent so far this year. Subaru sold 271 BRZs, or about 10 times as many FR-Ss as Scion did. That lead isn't likely to make it through June, however, as Scion is just now building FR-S inventory.

The Europeans
Audi's growth continued, especially for its midsize A6, which sold just 700 units short of its highest volume model, the A4.

Mercedes-Benz had its best-ever May thanks mainly to volume gains in its C, E and M-Class models. Meanwhile, the SLS AMG supercar saw a 295 percent boost in demand to 83 likely very happy buyers. Notably, Mercedes diesel sales are up 62 percent this year to 7,662 variants of the E, S, M and GL-Class.

Mercedes is slightly ahead of BMW this year, but the Ultimate Driving Machine brand should still have been happy with crossover sales last month. Combined, its X models were up 24 percent. Not so its bread-and-butter 3-Series, which saw a 22 percent slide to 6,321.

Land Rover continues to perform well, but Jaguar was down a bit last month. Nearly half of all Jaguars sold last month were XJs, however, so the British brand is at least seeing high transaction prices.

Leftlane's bottom line
Look for a roller coaster sales ride the next few months as Japanese giants Honda and Toyota - and even smaller brands like Mazda and Subaru - vastly outperform their weak 2011 numbers caused by the tsunami.

But it won't just be the Japanese brands doing all the bouncing around. When buyers struggled to find the Hondas and Toyotas they wanted on lots last year, they jumped ship to the Domestics, U.S.-focused Nissan and the Europeans, so sales were artificially in their favor.