The major automakers released U.S auto sales results for the month of May on Wednesday.  As expected, they all posted a decline as widespread parts shortages due to the Japanese earthquake on Mar 11 caused inventory shortages for dealers.

However, General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Ford (NYSE: F) held up much better than their foreign counterparts.  GM reported just a 1.2 percent drop in sales while Ford saw a 2.4 percent drop.

Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM), Honda Motor (NYSE: HMC) and Nissan Motor Co. posted substantial declines of 33 percent, 23 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Toyota’s sales were dampened by a 35.7 percent decline in sales for its best-selling Camry to 18,830 vehicles, while sales of its light trucks were off by 26 percent to 51,468 vehicles

Honda also saw weak sales for its best seller, the Civic, posting a 35.6 percent decline to 18,341 vehicles.   However, the company did have a bright spot with its economy car, the Fit, selling 35.1 percent more vehicles to total 5,921 for the month.

Nissan was also able to report some good news, despite an overall decline.  The company’s best-selling Altima saw sales jump 16.3 percent to 25,525 vehicles.

With a more modest sales decline, General Motors and Ford reported strong sales of several models.

 Ford said sales of its Focus jumped 31.7 percent to 22,303 vehicles, while sales of the Escape grew 20.5 percent.  However, its best-selling F-Series trucks sold 15 percent less in the month to 42,399 vehicles.

GM posted a 23.8 percent climb in sales at its Buick brand and 8.1 percent rise at its GMC name, while the Chevrolet and Cadillac brands posted 3.5 percent and 5.7 percent declines, respectively.

Despite the May sales decline, most automakers remain upbeat for the remainder of the year.  Ford has increased production by 8 percent over the last year and expects annual U.S. auto sales to hit roughly 13 million, a forecast similar to GM’s.

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