Another rise in US car sales - and the end of the road for Mercury

US car sales have risen for the eighth consecutive month, according to data released by US automakers June 2.

Sales rose 19 percent overall compared to May 2009, with a total of 1.1 million cars sold, many over the busy Memorial Day long weekend.

General Motors posted the highest sales figures, shifting 223,410 vehicles during the month, with the majority from Chevrolet. This equates to a 17 percent rise for America's most popular manufacturer.

Ford announced a gain of 23 percent (196,671 cars), before announcing that it plans to axe its Mercury brand later this year after several years of declining sales.

Ford said that the majority of its sales are to fleet buyers and customers purchasing through employee, retiree and friends and family discounts, which the manufacturer anticipates can largely be satisfied by Ford brand vehicles.

Ford intends to concentrate instead on revitalizing its Lincoln brand, with Ford Americas President Mark Fields saying that dealers will offer special incentives to sell off remaining Mercury vehicles this summer before the brand is discontinued in the fourth quarter.

Toyota was the only major manufacturer to not post a double digit rise, selling 162,813 vehicles, a gain of seven percent.

Toyota's Don Esmond said that Memorial Day was the best-selling weekend of the year.

Honda and Chrysler reported 19 and 33 percent gains respectively, while Nissan leapfrogged Hyundai to become the US's sixth most popular brand, selling 83,764 vehicles, a 24 percent rise.

May was Nissan's eighth consecutive monthly sales increase, said the Japanese firm.

The best-selling car brands in the US - May 2010

1. General Motors
2. Ford
3. Toyota
4. Honda (American)
5. Chrysler
6. Nissan

Data from Monthly US Sales Report by Automotive News/Manufacturers

Website: http://www.autonews.com/

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