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U.S. Auto Sales Speed Toward 17 Million

by Anne Steele, Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2015

Hot sales in May could put the U.S. auto industry well on its way to delivering 17 million new vehicles this year—a level unseen since 2001.

On Tuesday, auto makers are expected to report May sales, and analysts are forecasting 1.59 million vehicles for the month. While that would be down about 1% from the same month last year, the result would still put the auto sales on pace for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.3 million vehicles, based on the first five months of the year, according to market researcher Kelley Blue Book. An improving economy and Memorial Day deals are helping offset the recent uptick in gasoline prices, say auto analysts.

Most major manufacturers are expected to post slight declines in volume due to one less selling day for the month this year. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV could be the outlier here, as surging Jeep demand is expected to pull the auto maker’s year-over-year increase in sales to a streak of 62 months, according to Kelley Blue Book.

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