The May U.S. sales numbers for the auto industry were released yesterday, and they were impressive nearly across the board. The automakers combined to post the strongest month of sales since August, reporting a jump of 7.4%. This is particularly astounding considering the continuing increase in fuel costs.
Despite record-breaking gas prices, SUV and truck sales were surprisingly strong. In fact, General Motors
GM's primary domestic competitor was the only major player to report negative results for the month. Ford
Even the long-suffering No. 3 U.S. automaker picked things up in May. DaimlerChrysler
Contrary to the mixed results reported by the top American automakers, the top Japanese manufacturers continue to shine the brightest. Less than a month after reporting its record-setting year, Toyota
The two other big names in Japanese autos, Honda
While domestic and foreign auto sales were impressive overall, the American manufacturers have to be concerned about the pace their Japanese competitors are setting. It's no secret that the Japanese manufacturers are better known for their reliability, value, and performance. Now, the U.S. automakers are even lagging in hybrid technologies. If the Big Three hope to remain competitive, they may want to follow their foreign competitors' lead and start producing a broader range of products that consumers want.
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Fool contributor Mike Cianciolo welcomes feedback and doesn't own any of the companies in this article.