U.S. light vehicle sales racked up double digit declines as automaker’s report May sales results.
The seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of sales fell to 12.81 million in May, according to Motor Intelligence, down sharply from April's 14.6 million pace and May 2021's 17.12 million rate.
LMC Automotive has cut its outlook for 2022 U.S. sales again. This time to 15 million units, from 15.3 million, citing May's weaker-than-expected results. U.S. sales of new cars and light trucks rose 3.3% to 15.06 million in 2021. But deliveries fell 16% in the first quarter with another steep decline expected in the second quarter because of lower auto production levels.
"The market faces a real risk of turning negative from 2021," Jeff Schuster, head of global vehicle forecasts at LMC Automotive, said. "We still have a lift in sales in the second half, but it is plausible that an increase will not materialize this year and we could continue to track in the 14 million to 15 million unit selling rate for the remainder of the year."
Ford Motor Co. saw volume drop 4.4% to 153,434, while Toyota Motor Corp., Hyundai and Kia saw double-digit drops.
May deliveries declined 4.3% for Ford brands, marking the fourth consecutive monthly decline, with mixed results. The F-series had a 6.9% increase in deliveries and Explorer deliveries grew 19%. But the Ranger dropped 58%; the Escape, 55%; the Bronco Sport, 36%; and Lincoln volume, 6.8%, its 12th consecutive decline.
Toyota reported volume fell 27% to 175,990 in May, with deliveries off 27% at the Toyota division and Lexus. Toyota brand volumes have dropped for 10 consecutive months while Lexus saw the fourth consecutive drop.
All but one of Toyota’s top sellers, the RAV4, posted lower volume in May: Corolla, fell 18%; Camry, dropped 34%; Venza, down 68%; 4Runner, down 1.5%; Highlander, off 46%; and Tacoma, down 31%.
Still, U.S. sales of the Toyota RAV4, rose 9.5% percent. Lexus' top-seller, the RX crossover, posted sales of 8,749, down 2.3%.
Honda Motor Co. deliveries slid 57% to 75,491 in May with volume off 64% at Acura and 57% at Honda. The automaker’s best sellers posted significant drops in sales: Accord, down 58%; Civic, fell 77%; CR-V, slid 59%; Pilot, off 47%; and the HR-V, down 26%.
Hyundai deliveries fell by 34% to 59,432 in May, marking the automaker’s biggest decline since the start of the pandemic when sales dropped 39% in April 2020 and 43% in March 2020.
Hyundai ended May with 18,641 vehicles in dealer stock, off from 91,249 at the close of May 2021 but up from 15,809 at the end of April.
"There continues to be extraordinary consumer demand for Hyundai vehicles, with dealers selling every vehicle they get," Randy Parker, senior vice president for national sales at Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement. "We expect demand to remain strong and inventory levels to improve later in 2022."
Kia sales dropped 28% to 57,941 in May, and saw a decline in sales of key crossovers such as the Sorento, Seltos, Sportage and Telluride.
Kia reported dealer stocks at 9,000 cars and crossovers at the end of May, 30,000 vehicles below May 2021 levels.
Sales at Subaru slid 25% to 42,526, marking the 12th consecutive month of decline. Mazda saw it’s second monthly decline as volume skidded 64%. Volvo saw volume drop for the 9th consecutive month, while Genesis sales rose 18% to a May record of 4,400 on higher G70 and GV70 sales.
The rest of the industry reports U.S. sales on a quarterly basis.
Overall, forecasters expected sales to drop 17%-28% in May compared to May 2021, which saw 1.59 million vehicles sell.
"Historically, the daily sales pace is higher in May than in most other months, with spring optimism in the air, thoughts of summer road trips on the horizon and the buzz of Memorial Day sales," said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive. "But many of the industry's normal patterns have been overturned by tight inventory and the lingering effect of the global pandemic."
A shortage of microchips and wire harnesses worldwide continues to hurt production as do severe COVID-19 lockdowns in China's main auto manufacturing hubs.
J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said new-vehicle retail inventories ended May below 1 million vehicles for the 12th consecutive month.
J.D. Power and LMC Automotive predict fleet deliveries will tally 174,400 in May, up 3.8% from May 2021, when adjusted for selling days. Fleet volume also will account for 15% of total light-vehicle sales last month, up from 12% in May 2021.
The research companies say, leasing will account for 18% of retail sales in May.