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May sales: Erratic results continue as industry seeks balance

by Byron Hurd

2018\'s ups and downs continue.

2018 has been a wild ride for the auto industry, and it's showing no signs of stopping. With summer coming to the States (kicking off with the Memorial Day weekend--a staple for retail sales) May-June is traditionally a pretty good time of the year for automakers. Not everybody is celebrating this week, but those who are have good reason. Let's dig in.

With GM no longer reporting monthly sales (We'll get quarterly results from them after June wraps.), the domestic landscape looks a little weirder than it probably is. FCA had a blowout month, which is to say that Jeep had a blowout month. It's no wonder the company's car brands are all but doomed. Ford had a positive May, but nothing we'd consider spectacular.

Making a much bigger splash was Mazda, who reported an improvement of 15% for the month (and nearly that much YTD, which is even more remarkable). It wasn't enough to score another victory over VW, but it was yet another more-than-solid month in what is proving to be a transformational year for the plucky little Japanese favorite.

Speaking of the Germans, Audi had a close brush with a negative month, finishing only 0.6% ahead of last May--a difference of just 118 units. In the higher-volume end of the luxury segment, only Lexus numbers have come in so far. Toyota's premium division was down close to 4%, on a volume of just under 26,000--not enough to take the month from Mercedes-Benz. The same can be said of BMW, which finished between them.

And that's a wrap.

May, 2018

2018 YTD

*Automotive News estimate
**GM no longer reports monthly sales figures
***Excludes Mercedes-Benz Vans