GM Sales Rise; Ford Falters

Chrysler also ekes out growth in May, while Toyota continues to gain ground on its U.S. rivals.
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Updated from 12:19 p.m. EDT

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

and

DaimlerChrysler's

(DCX)

Chrysler Group each reported stronger auto sales for May, while

Ford

(F) - Get Report

posted its seventh-straight monthly decline.

Japan's

Toyota

(TM) - Get Report

, meanwhile, continued to gain ground on its American rivals, surpassing Ford in sales to become the No. 2 U.S. auto seller for the month.

General Motors, the No. 1 automaker, said its sales rose 8.8% in May to 375,682 vehicles. On an adjusted basis, which accounts for an extra selling day in the period, sales were up 4.7%.

The company's car sales jumped 11.8% on an adjusted basis to 150,979 units. Truck sales inched up 0.4% to 224,703 vehicles.

Sales to retail consumers jumped 12.8% in May; on an adjusted basis, retail sales were up 8.5%.

The divisions with retail growth included Saturn, GMC and Pontiac.

"Our May results were extremely positive as we saw strong total and retail sales increases. Our significant market share gains in full-size trucks and crossovers validates the decision we made to invest in industry-leading fuel economy in these important segments," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North American sales, service and marketing.

Separately, Ford said its May vehicle sales slid 6.8% to 259,470 units from 278,546 in May 2006.

Sales of trucks were virtually flat at 170,344 vehicles, while car sales plunged 17.7% to 89,126 units.

Among the car brands with the biggest declines were the Jaguar, the Ford Five Hundred, the Ford Fusion and the discontinued Taurus.

Part of the car sales declines come from Ford's plan to shift away from selling to rental-car agencies, which represent a lower-margin business. Retail sales fell 3% for the month, which Ford said marked its best retail performance of the year.

At Chrysler Group, U.S. sales rose 4%. The division, which consists of the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands, sold 199,393 vehicles, up from 191,261 a year earlier.

During the month, DaimlerChrysler reached a $7.4 billion deal to sell most of its stake in the struggling Chrysler Group to private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

Elsewhere, Toyota's U.S. auto sales rose 9.7% on an adjusted basis to 269,023 vehicles. Toyota's car sales jumped 12.7% to 148,327 units, while light-truck sales climbed 8% to 88,849 trucks.

Shares of General Motors were climbing 43 cents, or 1.4%, to $30.42. Ford shares were adding 3 cents to $8.37, while DaimlerChrysler shares were up 12 cents to $91.60.