By Kelsey Mays on June 2, 2013
The last time Ford sold 70,000 F-Series pickups in a single month was March 2007 when unemployment was just 4.4%. The best-selling truck eclipsed that mark again in May 2013, gaining 30.6% to hit 71,604 sales. That's the best May since 2005, an era when the F-Series' clipped along at 800,000 or more sales a year.
Such is the pickup rebound, fueled by a construction market that saw some of the highest housing starts in recent months since 2008. The Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Chrysler's Ram pickups all had 20%-plus gains for the month — and this comes with little increases in incentives versus May 2012. Ford's recent plans to add jobs to its Kansas City, Mo., facility, where the F-150 is built, seems like a safe bet.
While Ford led Detroit's sales gains, Nissan's 24.7% sales increase led the largest Asian automakers. Sales for the Altima boomed 40.8%, and that's with slightly lower incentives versus a year ago. The rival Honda Accord added 11.7% to stay ahead by fewer than 1,500 sales. Virtually every Honda sale in May "represents a purchase by an individual customer," Honda sales chief John Mendel said in a statement — a reference to Honda's fleet sales, which are by far the lowest among the seven largest automakers.Other family cars had a mixed month. The Ford Fusion did well, but Toyota Camry sales were slightly down. GM's emergency refresh of the Chevrolet Malibu, meanwhile, couldn't come soon enough. Sales for the just-redesigned family sedan tumbled 36.1% in May, though some of that comes from lower incentives versus a steeply discounted 2012 Malibu a year ago.
With those top seven automakers reporting numbers, new-car sales added a healthy 8% in May to end the month above 15 million annualized sales. That resumes a pace seen from November to March but lost in April. It's easy to see why: Consumer confidence reached a five-year high in May, and new-car prices roughly stayed put for the first time since we've tracked them (November 2011). The average new car sold for $32,426 in May, according to CNW Marketing Research. That's up just 0.4% over May 2012, signaling a possible plateau to months of year-over-year price increases. Will it continue? Wait and see.
Here are May's top 10 sellers.
Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey