DETROIT – Easier credit, hot new cars and falling gas prices kept Americans buying vehicles at a strong pace in May.
May sales totaled 1.3 million cars and trucks, up 26 percent from the same month a year earlier. It was the best May for the industry since 2008.
Toyota led sales increases with an 87 percent rise from a year earlier, while Honda saw a 48 percent jump. In May 2011, both companies ran short of cars and trucks after the earthquake in Japan crippled their factories.
Sales of the Toyota Prius hybrid tripled from a year ago, while Honda Civic sales were up 80 percent.
Chrysler reported a 30 percent increase, followed by Volkswagen at 28 percent and Nissan at 21 percent. Ford and Hyundai both saw gains of 13 percent. General Motors Co. was up 11 percent.
Pickup truck sales were particularly strong last month. GM, Ford and Chrysler all reported sales rose more than 20 percent.
Consumer spending up, but income stagnant
WASHINGTON – Consumer spending edged up modestly in April, but personal income growth was the slowest in five months, raising concerns about the ability of Americans to keep spending in the future.
Consumer spending increased 0.3 percent in April following a revised 0.2 percent gain in March, the Commerce Department said Friday.
Americans’ income grew 0.2 percent in April, the poorest showing since incomes fell 0.1 percent in November. The April gain was just half the 0.4 percent March rise.
Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity. Economists hope consumers will keep spending to support further economic growth.
For April, after-tax income adjusted for inflation rose 0.2 percent, extending a string of weak increases of 0.2 percent or less that stretch back more than a year.