Strong demand for new models and higher fleet sales lifted General Motors Co.'s sales 17 percent in May.
The improvement, over a dismal May of last year as GM was headed into bankruptcy protection, was a sign that automakers are benefiting from a weak but improving economy. Some consumers even shrugged off an 8 percent decline in the stock market to buy more cars and trucks.
GM was the first automaker to report U.S. sales Wednesday, and the whole industry is expected to show a double-digit increase over last May, when Chrysler was in bankruptcy protection and GM was nearing it.
GM sales from its four remaining brands — Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac — rose 32 percent for the month on strong new product sales and a big government fleet contract. GM is phasing out or selling Saab, Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer.
Edmunds.com said incentives fell slightly last month across the industry compared with April numbers, but GM boosted them by 13 percent.
The volatile stock market kept some jittery car and truck shoppers at home, said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends and analysis at TrueCar.com.
TrueCar estimates that U.S. sales will come in at annual rate of 11 million vehicles in May. But Toprak says it might have hit 12 million had the financial markets been steadier. The Dow Jones industrials lost almost 900 points, or about 8 percent, in May.
© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.