DETROIT - Ford, GM, Chrysler and Nissan all reported double-digit U.S. sales increases last month, signaling the best April for car and truck sales in six years.
DETROIT — Ford, GM, Chrysler and Nissan all reported double-digit U.S. sales increases last month, signaling the best April for car and truck sales in six years.
A rebound in pickup-truck sales led the way, especially for the Detroit automakers. Small businesses are replacing aging trucks they’ve kept since the Great Recession.
Ford’s sales increased 18 percent, with the F-Series pickup gaining 24 percent. At Chrysler, sales rose 11 percent, led by the Ram pickup, with a 49 percent sales increase. General Motors Co. saw an 11 percent sales jump, with Chevrolet Silverado pickup sales rising 28 percent for the month.
Nissan reported a 23 percent sales gain over April of 2012. Honda sales rose 7 percent, led by the CR-V small crossover SUV, while Hyundai sales were up 2 percent on strong sales of the Elantra compact. The only laggards were Toyota, with a sales decline of 1 percent, and Volkswagen, with a drop of 10 percent.
Americans continue to buy new cars and trucks even though unemployment remains high and economic signals of late have been mixed.
Chrysler Group said it sold 156,698 cars and trucks last month. Sales of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV increased 27 percent. Dodge brand sales rose 18 percent, with the Dart compact car posting its best month ever, with sales of nearly 8,100. But the Chrysler brand struggled, with sales falling 13 percent.
Ford Motor Co. sold 212,584 cars and trucks. The F-series pickup remains the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. Sales totaled 59,000 in April. Sales of the redesigned Escape SUV rose 52 percent.
GM reported sales of 237,646 cars and trucks. Even with gas prices on the decline, compact cars remain popular. Sales of the Chevy Cruze rose 21 percent.
Nissan saw demand for the recently redesigned Altima midsize car and Sentra compact. The company also took a step toward boosting sales, announcing price cuts on seven models that make up 65 percent of its U.S. sales. The cuts, effective on Friday, run from $580 on the top-selling Altima to $4,400 on the Armada SUV.
Volkswagen’s sales drop was led by its top-seller, the Passat midsize car, which fell 10 percent.
Despite a slight drop, Toyota was optimistic about the rest of the year. Sales chief Bill Fay said the overall market increase is a good sign for all automakers, “especially with new products, low interest rates and plenty of pent-up demand.”
Barring an unexpected event that causes a real-estate price collapse or rapidly rising job losses, there’s little to stop sales from growing further in the next few years, industry analysts say.
Alec Gutierrez, a senior market analyst at Kelley Blue Book, expects U.S. auto sales to end the year at around 15.3 million cars and trucks, up 5.5 percent from last year’s 14.5 million.