Market Snapshot


Gasoline prices continuing to hover well over $3 per gallon helped to entice more U.S. drivers to buy more cars than light trucks last month. In fact, May 2002 marked the last time cars outsold light trucks. Of the 1,555,374 new light vehicles sold in May, 778,651 were cars and 776,723 were light trucks.

Small cars continue to dominate the car segment in terms of sales growth—11.7% growth compared to May 2005—while growth of CUVs continues to outpace all other light-truck segments with its 28.2% growth. Automakers are heavily promoting CUVs, and consumers are becoming more aware of the gas-saving benefits of driving smaller crossovers.

Despite gasoline prices being 8% higher this past May compared to the same month last year, consumers purchased more trucks last month compared to the previous year. The redesign of the Chevrolet Silverado helped it take the top spot away from the Ford F-Series by growing 15.3% from last year’s sales. Rebates and a total redesign helped boost Toyota Tundra sales 122.3% this May compared to last year.

On the car side, the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Prius experienced the highest sales growth. Toyota increased Prius output this year to meet the growing demand of this gas-saving hybrid, which grew 196.3% in sales compared to last May.

A host of factors have contributed to the shift to more cars being sold. Gasoline prices, along with overall inflation, have led more consumers to buy lesser expensive vehicles that have better fuel economy compared to larger cars and SUVs. However, shifts in vehicle-buying behavior may not be permanent, as shown by the growth in sales of trucks last month. The tables below show sales for each of the vehicle segments, along with the top 10 selling cars and light trucks in May.

Source: SEMA Research & Information Center