A record number of recalls at GM since the first of the year did not seem to have crimped demand for the automaker's new vehicles.
GM's May sales were up 12.6 percent to 284,694 vehicles, well above the consensus of nine analysts polled by Reuters. All four GM brands reported sales increases, with gains at Chevrolet and GMC driven in part by strong demand for new full-size utility vehicles and pickups.
Ford said May sales rose 3.0 percent to 254,084 vehicles, with gains for both the Ford and Lincoln brands. Chrysler was up 16.7 percent, to 194,421. Toyota climbed 17.0 percent, to 243,236, and Nissan jumped 18.8 percent, to 135,934.
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The U.S. auto industry is forecast to show a third straight month of strong sales after cold and snowy weather held down results in January and February. Analysts polled by Reuters expected May industry sales to rise about 7 percent, with an annual sales rate of 16.1 million vehicles, but the actual results could surpass those projections.
Chrysler on Tuesday said it expects the U.S. industry's annual sales rate in May to finish at 16.9 million vehicles, including medium and heavy trucks, which account for about 300,000 vehicles each year. GM projected the annual rate in May at 16.5 million.