The U.S. auto market fell markedly in May 2011 after huge year-over-year growth earlier this year, but blame shouldn’t necessarily be thrown down at the feet of vehicle manufacturers. Most automakers lowered incentives. All automakers battled high fuel prices. Huge swathes of the nation struggled to keep their homes afloat amidst natural disasters. And Japanese automakers finally began to suffer a loss of market share as a result of Japan’s earthquake-sourced disasters. By times, Japan’s problems have had an impact on the supply of American and European vehicles, as well.

As a brand, Ford led the way in May with over 180,000 sales and a slight increase. The Ford Motor Company did, however, lose 9128 Mercury sales from May 2010. General Motors, despite losses at Chevrolet, out-sold Ford/Lincoln by 26,663 sales. On the whole, General Motors was down narrowly, but Buick and GMC posted nice gains.

Eight Japanese automakers are in the red in the U.S. Auto Sales By Brand list below. Toyota’s 33% decline from May 2010’s 136,485 sales was the worst drop in terms of overall volume. Toyota’s Lexus premium brand plummeted even deeper, down 45%, as it fell behind BMW, America’s best-selling luxury brand in May, and Mercedes-Benz. Buick was ahead of Lexus in May and is up on its assumed rival by nearly 1500 units year-to-date.

No automaker enjoyed year-over-year gains more than Saab. Bentley was up 69%. Among more mainstream brands, Mitsubishi improved by 60%, Volvo nearly that much, and Jeep climbed 55%. Get the details in the table, where you’ll also find important year-to-date data for the first five months of 2011.

Rank
Automaker
May 2011

Change
Year To Date
YTD 
% Change
#1
Ford
184,703
+5.3
843,710
+19.7
#2
Chevrolet
161,401
-3.5
747,700
+16.6
#3
Toyota
91,386
-33.0
601,449
+0.48
#4
Honda
81,773
-22.4
471,578
+7.9
#5
Nissan
69,759
-7.8
392,046
+16.4
#6
Dodge
61,667
+0.8
284,048
+19.1
#7
Hyundai
59,214
+20.7
263,588
+28.8
#8
Kia
48,212
+53.4
200,060
+44.8
#9
Jeep
35,573
+55.0
152,810
+44.1
#10
GMC
32,589
+8.1
154,582
+24.9
#11
Volkswagen
30,100
+27.9
125,681
+19.7
#12
BMW
20,651
+15.6
92,068
+13.0
#13
Mercedes-Benz
20,306
+5.9
95,458
+8.5
#14
Subaru
20,036
-15.3
112,255
+7.6
#15
Mazda
17,875
-20.9
103,072
+5.7
#16
Chrysler
16,364
-20.9
79,539
-11.9
#17
Buick
15,579
+23.8
78,731
+38.4
#18
Lexus
12,305
-44.6
77,237
-14.3
#19
Cadillac
11,623
-5.7
65,262
+23.1
#20
Audi
10,457
+13.6
45,858
+15.1
#21
Acura
9000
-23.5
51,972
+3.4
#22
Mitsubishi
7568
+59.8
35,816
+60.7
#23
Lincoln
7399
-4.6
34,642
-7.5
#24
Volvo
7359
+58.0
29,203
+25.8
#25
Infiniti
6389
-21.0
40,986
+5.1
#26
Mini
5801
+37.0
24,588
+46.3
#27
Scion
4696
+14.2
23,165
+34.2
#28
Land Rover
2891
+6.7
14,140
+16.1
#29
Porsche
2817
+50.4
12,996
+47.0
#30
Suzuki
2290
+20.3
11,124
+16.9
#31
Fiat
1759
—–
3141
—–
#32
Jaguar
1271
+32.1
5021
+18.6
#33
smart
492
-29.2
2225
-19.7
#34
Saab
385
+121.3
3150
+505.8
#35
Bentley
226
+68.7
665
+16.3
#36
Maserati
206
+35.5
908
+24.0

Source: Automakers & Automotive News Data Center

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