DETROIT -- General Motors rode strong retail sales and surging demand for pickups and crossovers to a 3 percent sales gain in May, offsetting continued weakness in car deliveries.
Total sales of 293,097 marked GM's strongest monthly result since August 2008. GM's sales to individual buyers rose 7 percent, while fleet deliveries fell 7.6 percent.
Crossover sales across GM's four brands shot up 23 percent, to 83,193. That included a 30 percent surge for the aging Chevrolet Equinox, the company's top-selling crossover, and a 67 percent jump in GMC Acadia sales. The Chevy Trax small crossover chipped in 5,707 of incremental sales, its best month since its launch last fall.
Pickups were the other big driver. Combined deliveries of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon hit their highest level since the midsize pickups went on sale in September, totaling 11,782. Combined sales of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups rose 8.6 percent to 70,579.
GM said the Silverado's retail U.S. market share in the full-size segment rose to 27 percent in May, from 24 percent a year earlier, citing J.D. Power data. Ford F-series pickup sales fell 9.7 percent to 61,870, although Ford said the redesigned truck garnered a record average transaction price.
Overall GM's truck sales -- including pickups, SUVs and commercial vans -- rose 7.2 percent.
Car sales lagged again, down 13 percent in May and 15 percent through the first five months of the year. A 27 percent drop in sales of the Cruze compact -- GM's top-selling U.S. car -- offset solid sales of the Sonic subcompact (up 3.2 percent) and Chevy Malibu sedan (up 11 percent), which was supported by cheap lease offers in May.
Chevy's overall sales rose 1.4 percent to 207,970, accounting for about 71 percent of GM's volume.
The GMC truck and crossover brand continued its strong run amid tamer gasoline prices with a 12 percent gain, its seventh straight monthly increase. Buick edged higher by 0.5 percent on increases of at least 20 percent for its two crossovers: the large Enclave and the small Encore. Its three car nameplates -- LaCrosse, Regal and Verano -- all fell by double-digit percentages.
Cadillac sales slipped 1.9 percent. A 21 percent jump for its top-selling nameplate, the SRX crossover, was offset by a 38 percent drop in CTS sedan sales. Cadillac sales are down 1.2 percent for the year.