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U.S. auto sales results encourage Detroit plan to rebuild inventories

Several automakers this week reported stronger-than-expected auto sales in May in the United States, and the Detroit automakers said they will work through their annual summer shutdowns to reconstruct inventories as demand recovers from coronavirus shutdowns.

The U.S. auto sector has resumed assembly plants after the shutdown and automakers that reported May sales said they saw signs of recovery in customer demand.

Toyota Motor stated overall U.S. sales dropped about 26% in May, but retail demand rebounded to 86% of levels in May 2019, surpassing the company’s forecasts. Retail sales almost doubled from April to May, a spokesman stated.

Hyundai Motor stated total U.S. sales in May dropped 13%, but that was significantly better than the 33% industry drop Cox Automotive had forecast. Hyundai mentioned a 5% increase in retail sales.

General Motors said it will keep building vehicles at majority of its U.S. plants to meet increasing customer demand, instead of taking a traditional two-week summer shutdown starting June 29, GM spokesman Jim Cain stated.

“Our share has been boosting and we want to be able to carry that momentum through to the other side of the pandemic,” he said.

Half of Ford Motor’s eight U.S. assembly plants have decreased their shutdowns to one week. Others are shifting their breaks to later in the year.

GM and Ford are not reporting monthly U.S. sales anymore.

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