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US Auto Sales Keep ‘Trucking’ Higher

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Automakers posted a strong month in May, with trucks sales continuing to rise as contractors and other small business owners updated their fleets.

Ford's (F) best-selling F-Series pickups led the pack with sales of those trucks up 30.6 percent in May. Across Ford's vehicle lineup, sales rose 14 percent.

Chevy Silverado pickup sales were up 25.3 percent and GMC Sierra truck sales were up 21.7 percent, contributing to overall vehicle sales growth of 3.1 percent at General Motors (GM).

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Ram trucks, which fall under Chrysler's sales, were up 22 percent, contributing to overall sales growth of more than 11 percent at the U.S. automaker.

Automakers reported strong pickup sales in April as well, as a recovering housing market helped drive business to contractors and construction companies. But pickup sales were boosted by other industries as well. Increased hydrofracking has driven truck sales in the Northern Plains and Pennsylvania for instance, CNBC automotive reporter Phil LeBeau told "Big Data Download."

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Industrywide, "we're going to see things slow down a little bit," LeBeau said, adding that full-year auto sales will likely hit 15.5 million vehicles, short of some analysts’ prior estimates of 16 million.

"We’re not seeing the huge double-digit gains in sales that we saw over the last three years. It simply can't be sustained here in the U.S.," LeBeau said. "What we are seeing is growth in that 7 to 8 percent range which would bring us into that 15 and a half million vehicles."

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