DETROIT (AP) — U.S. automakers are posting stronger-than-expected sales for the month of May, thanks to Memorial Day promotions and strong demand for new SUVs.

General Motors says sales rose 3 percent over last May, while Fiat Chrysler's sales rose 4 percent. Both automakers benefited as buyers continued a steady shift from cars into small and medium-sized SUVs. Sales of the Jeep Cherokee SUV were up 23 percent, while sales of the GMC Acadia jumped 67 percent.

Volkswagen surprised with an 8 percent sales gain. Ford's sales fell 1 percent and Toyota's sales were flat.

May is typically one of the biggest sales months of the year, as buyers flush with tax returns look forward to summer road trips. Last May, sales jumped 11 percent to 1.6 million, their highest monthly total in nine years.