By Bernie Woodall and Ben Klayman
DETROIT (Reuters) – The U.S. auto industry will remain on track for the best sales year in a decade despite industry growth being flat to up 0.7 percent in May, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) <FCAU.N> <FCHA.MI> said on Tuesday.
FCA’s forecast is slightly more optimistic than those of Wall Street analysts surveyed by Reuters, who expected a 1 percent fall-off in May U.S. auto sales.
FCA’s U.S. sales rose 4 percent to 202,227 vehicles in May, its 62nd consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth, as it continued a turnaround after enduring a federally sponsored bankruptcy in 2009. Prior to the winning streak, the company had more than two years of monthly year-over-year sales declines.
It was the first time the company topped 200,000 in monthly sales since March 2007.
FCA’s Jeep sports utilities and Ram truck brands continued to pace the company. U.S. Jeep sales jumped 13 percent and Ram trucks rose 8 percent. But the Fiat brand continued to flounder, with sales down 19 percent.
Auto sales are viewed each month as an early snapshot of U.S. consumer spending.
There was one fewer selling day in May compared with a year ago.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)