Old-fashioned big pickups were heroes of April sales.
USA Today reported that full-size rigs were up a hefty 27% from April last year, according to data reported by car companies Wednesday (May 1). Overall new vehicle sales were up less, 8.5%, according to sales tracker Autodata.
Largely because of big trucks, and the success of SUVs and redesigned cars, automakers reported April new vehicle sales of about 1.3 million, an annualized pace of about 14.9 million.
That’s short of the 15 million pace that makes the industry and its watchers breathe a sigh of relief, but it was considered healthy, especially because it was marbled with some dramatic sales jumps by key models.
Automakers see strong truck sales as more like the good ol’ days than as a burst of temporary interest from tradesmen replacing old trucks – but then hanging onto them for 10 or 12 years as the recession forced them to do last time around.
“Full-size truck sales are growing three times as fast as the industry,” says Joe Hinrichs,Ford executive vice president and president of The Americas. “There’s strong (economic) growth and housing starts are up.”
Sales of Ford’s F-Series line of trucks were up 24.4% in April. About two-thirds of F-Series sales are the F-150. Ford says it’s been selling F-Series trucks at a rate of one every 45.5 seconds this year.
Chrysler is reconfiguring its Warren, Mich., Ram truck plant to build a plant-record 300,000 Ram pickups annually, up more than 32% from last year’s production. Chrysler also builds Rams in Mexico for the U.S.