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April car sales in a nutshell: The year's 2nd-strongest month

Tue, 04 May 2010 00:00:00 -0700

Here are highlights from April's U.S. auto sales report:

Industry rises 20 percent

Overall U.S. sales rose 20 percent in April to 982,302 light vehicles, a gain of 162,610 over the same period a year ago. For the first four months, sales gained 17 percent to 3.53 million units. Sales have advanced every month this year; March's 24 percent gain was the only one stronger than April's.

Nissan leads the gainers

On a percentage basis, Nissan North America topped the seven largest players in the April U.S. auto market, rising 35 percent.

Four others were closely grouped. Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group both gained 25 percent, while Hyundai-Kia Automotive and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. were up 24 percent. American Honda sales rose 13 percent.

Sales at General Motors Co. increased 7 percent. While its four surviving brands gained 20 percent, discontinued or sold brands Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer and Saab dropped 96 percent.


Contrasts abounded among smaller automakers. Subaru racked up a 48 percent gain, and Volkswagen of America boosted sales 39 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, Porsche lost 6 percent, while American Suzuki fell 23 percent for its smallest monthly decline of the year.

GM stays on top

Based on an absolute volume, GM sold the most in April: 183,614 light vehicles.

Ford, which had topped GM in February, was No. 2 at 167,283 units, followed by Toyota at 157,439.

American Honda is No. 4, then Chrysler. Although Hyundai-Kia outsold Nissan by more than 10,000 units in April, Nissan leads its Korean rival through four months--291,998 to 262,264.

Trucks pick up share

Trucks boosted their share of the U.S. market in April. Sales of 458,761 trucks came to 46.7 percent of U.S. light-vehicle volume, compared with 45.3 percent a year ago. Last month may have been skewed by the introduction of a new generation of the Ford Super Duty--the heavy-duty version of the Ford F-150 pickup, the best-selling nameplate in America. Ford said it sold about 13,000 Super Duty units last month, including 3,700 new models.

So far this year, the truck/car split is running 46.5/53.5 percent. Through the first four months of 2009, the truck mix was heavier--47.4/52.6.

By Jesse Snyder- Automotive News