South America’s total vehicle sales in May reached 425,826 units for the six countries tracked by WardsAuto, falling 8.8% below year-ago’s 467,087.

The January-May volume was down 3.2% to 2.039 million units, compared with 2.107 million in like-2011.

May’s total marked the region’s fourth-consecutive decline as gains in smaller markets were not able to offset a combined 10.6% drop in the two biggest markets of Argentina and Brazil, which together account for 83% of the region’s volume.

The rest of the countries posted a combined gain of 0.7% in May. Venezuela led, up 14.7%, marking its sixth straight increase and pushing its year-to-date comparison up a solid 20.8%.

Vehicle deliveries in the month also increased 1.4% in Uruguay, placing it 3.2% ahead of year-ago for the first five months.

However, Chile and Colombia saw May sales fall 0.5% and 3.1%, respectively. It was Chile’s sixth consecutive decline and Colombia’s second in the past three months. Colombia’s year-to-date total was 2.2% above year-ago, while Chile’s 5-month sum was down 4.7%.

hstoddard@wardsauto.com