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by Tim Beissmann

New light vehicle sales in the US climbed 26 per cent in May on the back of normalised production from Japanese manufacturers who have recovered from last year’s natural disasters.

May saw 1.33 million new cars, SUVs and pick-up trucks sold across the country, 272,807 more than the same month in 2011.

The majority of those gains can be attributed to the rebound of Japan’s car makers, who at this time last year were in the depths of parts shortages following March’s earthquake and tsunami.

Toyota’s sales skyrocketed 87 per cent, increasing from 108,387 to 202,973 last month, while Honda soared 48 per cent from 90,773 to 133,997.

Market leaders General Motors and Ford also rebounded after five per cent declines in April 2012, with GM up 11 per cent to 245,256 units and Ford up 13 per cent to 215,699.

Chrysler enjoyed another positive month, with group sales up 30 per cent to 150,041 vehicles and Chrysler brand sales jumping 81 per cent to 29,674.

Industry journal Automotive News reports May was the 26th straight month that Chrysler group sales have increased, and marks 12 consecutive months of growth in excess of 20 per cent.

The US industry’s seasonally adjusted annual sales rate fell to 13.8 million vehicles in May, its lowest level this year, although forecasters still expect total sales for 2012 to reach their highest level since 2007.

A total of 5.99 million light vehicles have been sold in the US so far this year, up 13 per cent compared with the same period in 2011.




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