Orange County Business Journal

May Auto Sales Up; Annual Pace Slows

Kari Hamanaka Monday, June 4, 2012

Automakers here and nationally posted May sales gains even as the industry’s pace of sales for the year slowed during the month.

Automakers sold 1.3 million vehicles in May, up 25.7% from a year earlier, according to Woodcliff Lake, NJ-based Autodata Corp.’s online automotive researcher Motor Intelligence.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate—an industry measure of the projected pace of sales for the year—fell to 13.8 million vehicles.

That’s the lowest selling rate seen so far this year, but keeps the industry on track to outpace last year’s sales total.

Hyundai Motor America Inc., the largest automaker with operations based in Orange County, saw May sales rise 13.2% from a year earlier to 67,019 vehicles.

Hyundai, part of South Korea-based Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, is temporarily headquartered in Costa Mesa until construction on its new Fountain Valley campus is completed.

Irvine-based Kia Motors America Inc., also part of the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, reported vehicle sales of 51,771, up 7.4% from a year earlier.

Mazda North American Operations, also of Irvine, sold 20,357 vehicles last month, an increase of 13.9% from a year earlier.

American Suzuki Motor Corp. of Brea sold 2,360 vehicles, up 3% from a year earlier.

Cypress-based Mitsubishi Motors North America was the only automaker based here to see sales fall last month compared to the year-earlier period as it phases out three vehicle models.

Mitsubishi sold 5,575 vehicles in May, down 26% from a year earlier.

Anaheim-based luxury hybrid automaker Fisker Automotive Inc., which doesn't report monthly sales, recently said it had delivered 1,000 vehicles since December.