April National Auto Sales Results – Car Pro News

sales upU.S. light-vehicle sales rose 8 percent to nearly 1.4 million in April, with strong retail sales and pent-up demand adding momentum to the industry’s spring thaw.

Among major automakers, Nissan Motor Co., Chrysler Group and Toyota Motor Corp. set the pace with solid double-digit gains aided by redesigned crossovers and light trucks.

The annualized sales rate (SAAR), adjusted for seasonal trends, increased to 16.1 million from 15.2 million a year earlier, but still fell just short of projections. In March, the SAAR was 16.4 million — the best showing since November 2013 and among the highest rates since early 2007.

The SAAR has now topped the 16 million mark four out of the last nine months, and analysts say the industry remains on track to generate U.S. sales of 16 million or more for all of 2014.
Automakers said retail sales remained strong in April, offsetting sluggish fleet deliveries, which remained weak as major rental agencies dialed back on purchases.

Automakers also hiked new-vehicle incentives in April to extend the momentum from March, when sales rose 6 percent, analysts say.

Overall, light trucks led the industry’s U.S. sales gains last month, rising 13 percent, while car demand edged up 3 percent. Among segments posting the biggest gains were subcompact cars, SUVs, premium crossovers and compact luxury cars.

Deliveries were helped last month by pent-up demand after severe winter weather in January and February forced some consumers to delay purchases.

U.S. light-vehicle sales have now advanced 3 percent to 5.14 million this year.

Sales rose 18 percent at Nissan Motor, 14 percent at Chrysler Group and 13 percent at Toyota.

GM battled through its recall crisis for a second straight month to record a 7 percent gain. Hyundai also advanced, while Ford Motor Co. fell 1 percent in posting its third monthly decline of the year.

Nissan Motor set an April U.S. record with 103,934 units sold, with car deliveries jumping 24 percent and light truck demand rising 11 percent. Sales rose 19 percent at the Nissan brand and 17 percent at Infiniti.

Toyota said sales rose 12 percent at the Toyota division and 28 percent at Lexus. Truck volumes were especially strong last month, the company said.

Toyota officials said railroad delays continued to slow shipments from plants to dealers last month. They estimated that 190,000 units across the industry were built but waiting to be shipped, a level they said was about twice as high as normal.

Subaru, one of the industry’s hottest brands, extended its streak of double-digit sales gains to 16 consecutive months with a 22 percent rise in April deliveries.

Behind another surge at Jeep, Chrysler Group extended its streak of U.S. volume gains to 49 months.

U.S. deliveries advanced 52 percent at Jeep, 22 percent at Ram, and 10 percent at Fiat. Volume slipped 21 percent at the Chrysler brand, while sales were flat at Dodge.

Jeep’s U.S. sales, propelled by the redesigned Cherokee, set a monthly record of 59,754 units and have now advanced 30 percent or more for six consecutive months.

Overall, Chrysler’s light-truck deliveries advanced 34 percent last month while car volume slumped 26 percent.

GM, which has been dogged by a recall crisis for about two months, said its 7 percent gain reflected an 8 percent jump in retail volume and a 5 percent increase in fleet shipments.

Deliveries rose 13 percent at GMC, 12 percent at Buick, and 5 percent at Cadillac and Chevrolet. It was Cadillac’s first increase of the year.

Sales of Chevrolet’s Silverado pickup rose 9 percent and GMC Sierra demand climbed 21 percent, while GM’s full-sized SUV shipments advanced 22 percent.

At Ford Motor, sales slipped 1 percent on a 9 percent decline in car volume and 1 percent drop in deliveries of utility vehicles. Ford said retail sales slipped 1 percent and shipments to daily rental fleets skidded 24 percent.

GM’s results exceeded analysts’ projections, while Ford’s sales fell short of estimates.

Hyundai Motor America said it set an April record with sales of 66,107, up 4 percent, on strong deliveries of the Santa Fe and Sonata.

Jeep’s U.S. sales, propelled by the redesigned Cherokee, set a monthly record of 59,754 units and have now advanced 30 percent or more for six consecutive months.

The Volkswagen brand’s woes continued with April volume off 8 percent. VW’s U.S. deliveries are off 10 percent year-to-date, and have now skidded 13 consecutive months.

At the BMW Group, April U.S. deliveries rose 9 percent at BMW and 6 percent at Rolls Royce, but skidded 24 percent at Mini.

Audi, helped by the launch of the redesigned A3, posted a 19 percent increase in U.S. sales last month.

Jaguar Land Rover’s U.S. sales rose 19 percent in April; with Jaguar volume off 9 percent and Land Rover deliveries advancing 28 percent. Aided by the new F-Type coupe, Jaguar’s U.S. sales had advanced by nearly 30 percent or more each month beginning with May 2013.


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