U.S. Vehicle Sales Surge in May as Auto-Loan Rates Slip

U.S. Vehicle Sales Surge in May as Auto-Loan Rates SlipThe housing market may get the lion’s share of headlines, but the U.S. auto and truck sectors continue to impress with Ford, Chrysler and GM ringing up higher new-vehicle sales in May.
For consumers, it’s a good time to finance a purchase or lease a new vehicle. Interest rates on new and used car loans were, for the most part, down for the week ended May 29, according to the latest figures from Bankrate.com.
All three U.S. automakers reported sales gains in May over the same month of 2012, as each saw increases of more than 20 percent from profitable, full-size pickups.
Ford’s U.S. sales totaled 246,585 in May, up 14 percent, and marking its best May since 2006.
Chrysler said its sales of 166,596 vehicles were up 11 percent over the same month last year, representing the best May for the company in six years.
General Motors’ U.S. sales of 252,894 vehicles was 3.1 percent better than May 2012, led by impressive Cadillac sales, which rocketed 39.9 percent.
“Cadillac is growing faster than it has in almost 40 years, the pickup rebound is in full swing and we’re seeing strong retail demand for our crossovers,” Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations, said in a statement. “These are all powerful signs that the gradual recovery in the economy is becoming more broad-based. That’s great news for the auto industry and General Motors.”
Meanwhile, 60-month (5-year) new-car loans dropped slightly from 4.12 percent to 4.10 percent, a decrease of only two basis points.
For 48-month new car loans, the decrease was even less significant, with rates moving from 4.04 percent to 4.03 percent. Used car loan rates were also down slightly this week, as 36-month used car loan rates edged one basis point lower from 4.72 percent to 4.71 percent.
Rates have mostly been flat over the past two months. Five-year loan rates ending March 20 were at 4.10 percent. It has hovered between 4.10 percent and 4.12 percent in the two months and one week since then.

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