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June 1 2015, 06.40am GMT


The month of May was definitely positive for the auto industry in the U.S. with almost 17 million new vehicles delivered.

This number was last seen in 2001.

This week, on Tuesday, sales for the month of May will be reported by auto makers and according to analysts, expectations are for the sale of 1.59 million vehicles. According to market researcher Kelley Blue Book, while this will mark a decrease of about 1 percent from May sales a year ago, auto sales will still be on pace for an annual rate of 17.3 million vehicle sales. This is based on the sales which took place during the first 5 months of 2015.

According to auto analysts, as a result of Memorial Day deals as well as an improving economy, this has helped to buffer the recent increase in gasoline prices.

On Tuesday, expectations are that most of the major auto manufacturers will report a small decline in volume as a result of one selling day short in the month of May. All eyes are also on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV which is expected to exceed expectations as a result of an increase in the sales of Jeeps. Should this occur, this will pull Fiat’s year over year increase in sales to a streak of 62 months.

Despite the positive forecasts, analysts are unsure if the auto industry will be able to maintain the higher sale numbers for the remainder of 2015. Some analysts have predicted that sales for the year will finish just shy of the expected 17 million at 16.9 million while others, such as Jeff Schuster from LMC Automotive predict that as a result of an increase in consumer enthusiasm, the 17 million unit mark will be reached.

According to Schuster, this will be possible as a result of improved leasing options, cheap gas prices as well as new models which have attracted shoppers all over the country.

Should auto makers succeed in passing the 17 million unit mark this year, it will also mark the end of the large year over year gains the industry had been enjoying since the recession. In 2001, this marked the peak for auto makers where 17.3 million vehicles were sold.

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