U.S. May Auto Sales Rise Slightly Despite Higher Fuel Prices

Honda Motor Co reported a 3.1-percent year-to-year increase in May sales, to 153,069. Toyota Motor Corp said sales dipped 1.3 percent to 215,321, while Nissan Motor Co was down 4.1 percent to 131,832.

The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate in May was estimated at 16.8 million by RBC Capital Markets.

U.S. auto sales have been bumpy this year – down in February, up in March, down again in April – as consumers continue to shift away from sedans into trucks and SUVs, which are generally more expensive and generate higher profits.

Ford estimated industry-wide retail car sales were down 10 percent, with SUV sales up 13 percent.

Researcher Kelley Blue Book said average new vehicle transaction prices hit $35,635 (26,498 pounds) in May, up 3.4 percent from a year ago, driven by strong demand for trucks and SUVs.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Bill Trott and Phil Berlowitz)

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