May is projected to be a big month for the auto industry, and a 30 percent jump in new car sales when compared to last year has many feeling positive -- especially since that's a key indicator of consumer confidence and economic strength.
New vehicle sales are so hot, the biggest issue at Roseville Midway Ford is inventory because they are literally running out of popular models. Tom Kulick, the sales manager, says momentum shifted into overdrive earlier this spring -- and it's been a smooth ride since.
"It started in March. We had a really good march -- really good April," he said. "May is continuing that trend."
Analysts project a big jump in new car sales this month compared to a year ago. Nationally, auto dealers moved 1.06 million vehicles in May 2011. This year, that number is expected to top 1.37 million.
Some of that jump can be attributed to the impact of the earthquake in Japan that disrupted the global auto industry, but favorable conditions here at home also help.
"It's still a good time because interest rates are so low," explained Scott Lambert, of the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association. "Used car values are still high. It's a good time to trade in a car. All those factors make the car industry strong relative to the economy."