May 2012 Auto Sales

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Chrysler was back to its winning ways in May, growing not just sales but also market share, as all five brands saw increased sales.

Chrysler +81%
Sales of the Chrysler 300 more than doubled, but that wasn't the only vehicle driving Chrysler's performance in May; the 200 (+87%) and the Town & Country (+56%) helped too.

Dodge +14%
The Avenger (+93%) and the Journey (+56%) again saw the biggest sales gains for Dodge, with the Challenger (+41%) not far behind. The Charger (-14%) and the Durango (-12%) both declined.

Jeep +24%
The Compass (-18%) was down again in May, and its twin, the Patriot (+8%) wasn't much better. Jeep's strongest gainers were also its strongest sellers: the Wrangler (+44%) and the Grand Cherokee (+40%).

Ram +23%
Last month, we noted that the big Ram pickup had 20k-plus sales; this month, it was over 26,000.

Fiat +128%
Fiat sales topped 4000 cars (4003 sold) for the first time.


Like Toyota, Honda recorded a huge percentage increase in May, compared to the tsunami-depressed year-ago total. But it wasn't just the stark comparison with 2011; Honda was also up nearly 10% compared to last month. Some models, like the Civic, were up considerably more.

Honda -3%
The Civic finally started exhibiting the strength of a redesigned model, powering into fourth place among all nameplates, with sales climbing by more than one-third compared to April. In so doing, it overtook the Accord, which fell to sixth.

The CR-V was once again America's bestselling SUV, and set a new best-ever monthly total. Honda's fuel misers, however, continue to struggle: Fit (-35%), Insight (-64%), and CR-Z (-81%) are all tanking.

Acura +62%
The new RDX tripled its prior-year figure as the nameplate enjoyed its best-ever month. We had thought the new ILX might lend a hand in May, but it was only trickling into dealerships. Maybe next month. The ZDX, meanwhile, is only trickling out of dealerships; sales have dropped below 100.


Once again, Hyundai-Kia sales failed to keep pace with total industry growth. The Koreans were unaffected by the supply shortage that rocked the Japanese a year ago, so they are going to be hard pressed to grind out big percentage increases their strong sales in 2011.

Hyundai +13%
Hyundai claimed its second-best-ever monthly sales total in May, aided by the new Azera, the addition of the Veloster, and a sudden quadrupling of Accent sales. The Sonata (-9%), however, is cooling off.

Kia +7%
The Optima (+80%) and the Rio (+60%) were behind the gains this month. Kia's SUVs and minivan continue to show weakness: Sportage (-24%), Sorento (-7%), and Sedona (-22%).


There was a much bigger sales jump at Infiniti than at Nissan division, because Infiniti was much more affected by the disaster a year ago.

Nissan +16%
The Altima (-11%) has cooled considerably but is in the midst of a model changeover. The Cube and the Leaf have just gone cold, with the latter trailing the still-ascending Chevy Volt by a considerable margin. Buoyed by a redesigned sedan, the Versa (+80%) is looking strong, as are the Quest (which doubled), the Rogue (+72%), and even the Titan (+87%).

Infiniti +66%
Infiniti looked good in May with its post-disaster bounce, but again, the picture also was impressive when viewed against the may total, as Infiniti leaped from 7000 to 10,000. Much of the credit -- 2678 units, to be exact -- goes to the new JX. The G (+35%) and the QX (+28%) also did well. Not so the EX (-32%) and the FX (-6%).


Mercedes-Benz +21%
Mercedes' growth came via the C-class (+35%) and the new M-class (+66%), as well as the CLS and the sports cars. Let's not forget the Sprinter (+44%), which now outsells the S-class 2-to-1. The big percentage declines came from the soon-to-depart R-class (151 units, down 83%) and the never-to-depart G-class (68 units, off 38%).

Smart +43%
Smart experienced another big bounce this month, but still lags behind the Scion iQ.

Maybach +33%
No doubt spurred by a rush of collectors, Maybach sales soared to 4 cars, from 3 a year ago.

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