Good news for GM? Chrysler's sales are awful, but not that awful

Chrysler struggled mightily to sell cars in May, a month it spent entirely in bankruptcy. Even so, last month's sales beat expectations and that could be a very good sign for General Motors.

How so? Chrysler's sales slipped 47 percent in May from a year ago. That's a big drop, to be sure, but it's no worse than the punishing year-over-year declines it has seen in recent months as people deferred new car purchases in the face of rising unemployment and falling home values. (In April, Chrysler's sales fell 48 percent year-over-year, for example.) And it suggests being bankrupt didn't scare off buyers, as many feared it would.