With Toyota and Honda automobiles leading the way, US car sales rose by more than 20 percent last month from a year ago, juiced up by increased incentives amid a slow US economy, industry figures showed on Friday.
In total, 1.33 million new cars and trucks were sold in the US last month, according to market researcher Autodata. However, that was fewer than the 1.39 million vehicles forecast by specialist Web site Edmunds.com, which said that automakers increased their incentives last month, spending US$2,135 per vehicle to close a deal.
“Even if sales are lower this month than so far this year, the overall pace is still the highest of the recovery to date,” Edmunds.com chief economist Lacey Plache said.
The Japanese recovery after the earthquake-tsunami disaster in March last year that forced plant shutdowns and disrupted supply chains for months gained momentum last month.
Toyota sales in the US soared 87 percent and Honda’s sales jumped 46 percent from May last year levels.
Toyota Motor sales vice president Bob Carter said the higher sales indicated Toyota not only had recovered from the shortages created by the disaster, but its new products were winning over customers.
Toyota said it was helped by several other factors, among them rising consumer confidence, better credit availability and a steady flow of traffic through its showrooms.
John Mendel, US Honda executive vice president of sales, echoed the sentiment.
“With our best May sales performance since before the financial crisis it’s obvious Honda’s return to strength is in full swing, and our May sales are impressive irrespective of last year’s production supply problems,” Mendel said.