April Auto Sales Up 8% on Pickup, SUV Gains
U.S. car buyers came out of hibernation in April to spend on pickup trucks and SUVs, fueling an auto sales rebound that analysts expect to last the rest of the year.
The Associated Press reported that total sales grew to just under 1.4 million cars and trucks, up about 8% from a year ago. Sales ran at an annual rate of just over 16 million, according to Autodata Corp.
Nissan led the way with an 18.3% increase over a year ago, with sales of the redesigned Rogue small SUV up almost 27%. Chrysler posted a 14% gain, boosted by a big jump in sales of Jeep SUVs. Both companies reported record April sales. Toyota sales grew by 13%, led by a double-digit gain in truck sales.
General Motors, which has suffered through bad publicity from a string of embarrassing safety recalls, posted a 7% gain, led by the Buick Encore small SUV and the Chevy Silverado pickup truck. And Hyundai sales rose a little more than 4% on strong SUV sales.
But there were some soft spots.
Honda sales grew only 1%, while Ford sales fell by a point. Ford’s car sales sputtered, although sales of its F-Series pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., rose 7.4%. Sales at Volkswagen dropped 8.4%.
U.S. consumers bought 15.6 million new cars and trucks in 2013. The industry entered 2014 with expectations of selling more than 16 million cars for the first time since 2007. But sales dropped 3% in January and were flat in February. March started slowly, but finished with a flourish.
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