U.S. light-vehicle sales rose 23 percent to 1.359 million in May, GlobalData said in a report Friday, as retail selection improved, consumer incentives rebounded and automakers filled a backlog of fleet orders.
The preliminary final tally was higher than forecasts for an 18 to 20 percent rise in May volume, as estimated by J.D. Power, GlobalData, TrueCar, Cox Automotive and S&P Global Mobility. Retail sales totaled 1.094 million while fleet shipments came in at 265,000, or 19.5 percent of the market, GlobalAuto said in the Friday report.
The seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of sales in May came in at 15.1 million, Motor Intelligence reported, higher than the range of forecasts of 14.5 million to 14.9 million vehicles. The May SAAR is down from April's 16.15 million rate but up sharply from 12.73 million in the previous May, which marked 2022's slowest sales pace.
The sharp rebound from 2022's weakest month was driven by consumers returning to showrooms as selection improved and incentives rise, as well as continued strong fleet demand as automakers filled a backlog of orders from daily rental companies and commercial users. J.D. Power and GlobalData had estimated fleet sales would increase 50 percent in May from a year earlier.