Japanese automakers have awful May, put Chrysler back in "Big Three"

If you're trying to live life rather than monitor U.S. auto sales data, we applaud your priorities. But it is worth pausing to note just how badly Japan's earthquake damaged Japanese automakers in the United States in May.

Sales at Toyota fell 33%, while Honda sales plunged 22.5% and Nissan's fell 9.1% - roughly reflecting how hard sales of each were hit by parts shortages in Japan. Those declines were so steep they created several weird comparisons. Hyundai and Kia combined came within 961 vehicles of outselling Toyota. Honda failed to put a vehicle in the top 10 models by sales for the first time in years if not decades.

And for one month, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler can reclaim the mantle of the "Big Three," which had until now been stored in a government warehouse next to the Ark of the Covenant. It's expected to return to its resting place within a few months.