Chrysler's May Sales Climb 30%, Trail Forecasts

By TransportationFOXBusiness

Rebounding auto maker Chrysler scored a 30% jump in U.S. sales in May thanks to explosive growth at its namesake brand, but the results failed to meet forecasts from analysts.

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Privately held Chrysler, which was forced into government-assisted bankruptcy during the recession, said Friday that last month’s performance marked its strongest May in five years.

The Chrysler brand led the growth, generating an 81% surge in year-over-year sales to 29,674 units. Jeep brand sales jumped by a more modest 24% to 44,198 vehicles, while Ram sales rose 23% to 26,373 units.

Chrysler, which is now controlled by Fiat, said Fiat brand sales leaped 128% last month to 4,003 vehicles.

Overall May sales rose 30% year-over-year to 150,041, but that trailed consensus forecasts of 40% from analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Still, Chrysler said it is in the process of adding production capacity to meet “strong demand” for its vehicles. The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based auto maker said it finished May with a 61-day supply of inventory.

"In spite of a tremendous amount of global economic uncertainty, the U.S. new vehicle sales industry continues to power ahead," Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales, said in a statement.

Other big U.S. auto makers like General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford (NYSE:F) are also slated to reveal their May figures on Friday and economists expect an annual sales rate of 14.5 million vehicles for the month.