) -- Cadillac said sales in May rose 40% and its five-month year-to-date sales rose 38%, making it the fastest growing major U.S. brand.



said sales of its best-selling vehicle, the Ram pickup truck, rose 22% to 31,672 units, likely an indication that, as expected, pickup truck sales continued to gain as home construction picks up. Overall, Chrysler Group said sales rose 11% to 166,596, its best May since 2007.

Cadillac and Chrysler released results early Monday as automakers were reporting May sales, which are expected to show an overall gain in the high single digits.


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said Cadillac's year-to-date sales increase of 38% will be the brand's largest since 1976, while its 40% May sales gain will mark its 12th consecutive month of sales growth. "Cadillac is back," said Bob Ferguson, vice president, Global Cadillac, in a prepared statement.

During the month, sales of Chrysler brand cars fell 2%, reflecting an 18% decline by the Chrysler 300 to 5,011 units. Dodge brand sales rose 23%, with Durango sales up 24% to 4,759 units as well as sales of 7,448 for the new Dodge Dart. Jeep sales rose 1%, to 44,419, reflecting the discontinuation of the Liberty and a 13% gain to 16,272 for Wrangler, the best-selling Jeep.

"Our best May sales in six years enabled us to extend our sales streak to 38-consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains," said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales, in a prepared statement. "We continue to see strong retail sales throughout our product lineup as eight Chrysler Group vehicles set sales records in May, including best sales ever by the Jeep Wrangler and Compass."

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-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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Ted Reed