Two Detroit automakers on Friday reported an increase in U.S. auto sales for May as demand for sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks continues to buoy sales despite rising gas prices. May is often the biggest sales month of the year for auto sales, with Memorial Day sales driving car shoppers to dealerships to kick off the summer selling season.
SUVs and pickup trucks accounted for about 67% of sales in May, according to J.D. Power, the highest level ever for May. The richer mix of SUVs and pickup trucks, which carry higher prices than passenger cars, drove the average transaction price up nearly $1,200 in May compared to last year, while discounts remained flat at about $3,665 per vehicle, J.D. Power said.
The shift toward trucks and SUVs continues unabated even though consumers are paying more for gas. Regular gasoline surpassed an average of $2.90 a gallon nationally. And prices are expected to continue to rise and could top $3 a gallon through the summer driving season.