A surprisingly weak month. The annualized selling rate was only 11.4 million, way lower than the 12.1 million that had been projected by Ward's (other estimates were a little lower). That compares with a selling rate of more than 13 million vehicles in February, March, and April. What happened? Well, GM had a softer month than expected, and Toyotas and Hondas were in continued short supply. Also, fewer discounts. The automakers remain hopeful that sales will pick up this summer, especially as gas prices continue dropping and consumers become a little more willing to spend. Of course, that assumes something untoward doesn't happen with the economy, such as Congress failing to raise the debt limit. From the NYT:
"Things actually were going along pretty well in March and April, and the shortage hit us badly," said Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota in North Palm Beach, Fla. His dealership sold 88 Prius cars in March but only 12 in June before running out. Mr. Stewart said his new-car department was profitable early in the year but lost money in May and June, as sales went from an average of 265 a month to about 140 in May and then 180 last month.