GM sales unfazed by recalls; Chrysler booms, Ford up

GM sales unfazed by recalls; Chrysler booms, Ford up

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee, a new model, continues its strong launch with growing sales for Jeep. (Photo: Chrysler)


by James R. Healey and Fred Meier, USA TODAY

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 8:12 AM

General Motors sales of new vehicles appears unfazed by its widely publicized series of recalls, some of them linked to fatalities.

GM said May sales were up 13% from a year ago, for its best month since August 2008. That trumped Ford Motor's rise of 3% but lagged Chrysler Group's booming 17% gain.

GM's strong sellers incldued the Chrvoelt Cruzae compact sedan, up 41% and the Spark mini-car, which posted sales twice as good as a year ago.

The redesigned, 2015 full-size Chevrfolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon also were strong performers.

FORD MOTOR said its May sales of new cars and trucks were up a modest 3%, to 254,084.

Fusion mid-size sedan and Escape crossover SUV both recorded more sales in May than ever in the history of thos emdoels, Ford said.

John Felice, Ford vice president of , U.S. marketing, sales and service, said larger crossover SUVs did well, too, and "Explorer continued to gain ground in the midsize utility segment with its best monthly sales performance in nearly 10 years.

Lincoln, struggling for an identity, got help from its MKZ, the preimium brand's version of the Fusion, which "saw its best May ever," Felrice said.

Industry analysts predicted May would be strong for U.S. car companies, partly due to reports of a powerful sales surge over Memorial Day weekend.

CHRYSLER GROUP lived up to analysts' forecasts, reporting May sales of new cars and trucks up 17.4% from a year earlier, to 194,421 vehicles, making it Chrysler's best May since 2007 before the Great Recession.

In what's become a common refrain, the car company said its Jeep brand was a star, setting its third consecutive monthly sales record.

Chrysler Group is the main U.S. unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and includes Fiat sales in its reports.

Chrysler results by brand:

Jeep: Up 58%, for the best monthly tally in its history. The small Compass, iconic Wrangler and new Cherokee each reported their best monthly sales ever.

Ram: The brand's full-size pickup was up 17%, best sales for that month since 2005. Within that, sales of the heavy-duty version of the pickup jumped 34%, signaling strong commercial interest as businesses that put off replacing old machines during the recession now find the economy stable enough to take the plunge on new work vehicles.

Chrysler: The namesake brand sales fell 22%, reflecting, the automaker says, the discontinuance of its 200 sedan. The redesigned replacement 200 sedan just began arriving at dealers in May, and strong early orders give the company very high expectations for a strong launch. The Town & Country minivan jumped 37%.

Dodge: The company's mainstream brand was up just 3%. Still, it was Dodge's best May since 2007. And Dart, Journey and Challenger set records.

Fiat: Still a tiny presence in the U.S., fielding only the 500 minicar and larger 500L, the italian brand was up 18% and had its best month since returning to the U.S. in 2011.