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Published: Thursday, 6/3/2010

Auto sales hit the gas, rise by 19% over 2009


DETROIT - Americans shrugged off fewer discounts and a scary stock market plunge last month, snapping up new automobiles and delivering another month of higher sales for carmakers.

Industrywide sales rose just over 19 percent in May versus last year, and 12.3 percent compared with April, according to Autodata Corp.

Ford Motor Co. sales rose 22 percent, boosted by strong demand for the F-Series pickup and new Ford Mustang. General Motors Co. sales rose 17 percent, led by a jump in sales of its four remaining brands - Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac - as well as big orders from fleet customers.

Chrysler Group LLC sales surged 33 percent. May was the first month in more than two years that Chrysler sold more than 100,000 vehicles, helped by strong sales of its Jeep Wrangler, pickup trucks, and minivans.

Sales of the Toledo-built Wrangler climbed 4 percent last month from the same month a year ago to 9,634. Sales of the other two Toledo-built vehicles fell, the Dodge Nitro by 4 percent to 1,774 units and the Jeep Liberty by 11 percent to 4,105 units, the company said.

Toyota Motor Co. sales rose 7 percent. Other automakers that reported sales were Honda Motor Co. with sales up 19 percent; Hyundai Motor Co., up 33 percent, and Nissan Motor Co., up 25 percent.

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