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Automakers report mixed results for April

May 3, 2010

Automakers report mixed results for April

The Detroit News

Automakers reported mixed sales results for April, further evidence of just how tenuous the recovery remains.

Overall industry sales totaled 982,131 cars and trucks last month. That was a 19.8 percent increase over last April’s depressed total, but a 7.9 percent decline over March’s big gains.

Those numbers translated into a seasonally adjusted selling rate of just over 11.2 million units, down from nearly 11.8 million in March.

Ford led the Detroit automakers with sales of 167,283 vehicles, a 24.9 percent increase over April 2009. It was the company’s fifth consecutive month of more than 20 percent sales increases.

"All categories were up — cars, utilities and trucks — and all brands were up — Ford, Mercury, Lincoln and Volvo," said George Pipas, head of sales analysis and forecasting at the Dearborn automaker.

Ford’s share of the retail market increased to more than 14 percent. "That would put it up more than a point from a year ago, and that means that Ford’s retail share has increased in 18 of the last 19 months."

Ford claimed 17 percent of the U.S. market in April, up from 16.3 percent a year ago, putting it in second place after General Motors Co.

GM posted a sales increase of 7.2 percent on sales of 183,614 vehicles. But factoring out Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer, sales of its surviving brands were up nearly 20 percent.

Even without its defunct brands, GM held on to 18.7 percent of the market, down from 20.9 percent last April.

"While we are pleased with these results, we know we have to continue working hard for each sale," said Steve Carlisle, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales.

Chrysler Group LLC also reported a 24.8 percent increase on sales of 95,703 cars and trucks. That increased Chrysler’s share of the market to 9.7 percent, from 9.4 percent in April of 2009.

It was Chrysler’s best year-over-year percentage increase since July 2005 and the first double-digit increase since its alliance with Fiat SpA last June.

Toyota sold 157,439 cars and trucks, an increase of 24.4 percent. That translated into 16 percent of the market, up from 15.4 percent a year ago.

Honda Motor Co. reported a 12.5 percent increase on sales of 113,697 vehicles, with its share of declining to 11.6 percent from 12.3 percent last April.

Nissan Motor Co. sold 63,769 vehicles, an increase of 35.1 percent that propelled its market share from 5.8 percent to 6.5 percent. But the biggest gains came from Volkswagen AG, which saw its sales leap 39 percent.

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