April National Auto Sales Results

Due to deadlines, we were not able to report last week on the April Sales, but here is the complete rundown on what turned out to be a good month for the auto industry.

Led by gains at Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and Ford, U.S. light-vehicle sales increased 3.5 percent to 1.506 million in April, a record for the month.

After a lackluster March that disappointed some automakers, April produced solid gains across the industry, with fatter deals and light trucks driving volume higher.

Honda Motor Co. said sales surged 14 percent — an April record for the company — including a 15 percent boost in its namesake brand to go with a 9 percent increase at the Acura brand.

Nissan Motor Co. soared 13 percent for its third double-digit gain of 2016. FCA US stretched its streak of monthly gains into a seventh year with a 5.6 percent increase. Ford Motor Co. rode its F-series pickups and Explorer to a 3.6 percent gain.

Toyota Motor Corp. said overall sales notched a 3.8 percent gain, with namesake brand sales rising 3.7 percent. Lexus sales declined 3.8 percent. Scion sales rose 54 percent.

General Motors recorded its biggest decline — 3.5 percent — in more than two years. Each GM brand fell as the automaker continued to emphasize deliveries to individual customers and dial back on less-profitable sales to rental fleets. Retail sales rose 4 percent.

FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands continued to be a source of strength, up 18 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Demand fell 18 percent at the Chrysler brand, 3 percent at Dodge and 19 percent at Fiat.

Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. sales have now advanced 73 consecutive months.

FCA also continues to benefit from some of the highest discounts in the U.S. market. TrueCar estimates FCA’s average incentive rose 25 percent to $3,967 per vehicle last month from April 2015.

Jeep’s U.S. sales advanced 17 percent in April, the brand’s best April ever and its 31st-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

GM’s 3.5 percent decline was its largest since a 12 percent drop in January 2014. Cadillac had the biggest tumble, down 29 percent, followed by Buick down 2.8 percent, Chevrolet down 2.3 percent and GMC off 0.1 percent.

Ford’s gains included a 13 percent gain for F-series pickups. Ford sold more than 70,000 of the F-series for a second consecutive month, achieving the truck’s best April since 2005.

Sales of the Explorer rose 25 percent, in contrast with declines for two other crossovers, the Escape and Edge. Ford’s car sales fell 12 percent, including a 17 percent drop for the Fusion midsize sedan.

Ford says full-size pickups outsold midsize cars in April. Full-size pickups gained a full point of share and midsize cars lost a full point. TrueCar estimates Ford incentives rose 24 percent in April.

The Lincoln brand posted a 20 percent increase, with the MKC up 51 percent and the redesigned MKX nearly doubling its results from a year ago.

Also in the luxury segment, Audi said it posted its 64th consecutive monthly sales record in April, with sales rising 5.8 percent to 17,801 deliveries. The Q3, Q5 and Q7 SUVs led the way along with the all-new A4 sedan. Among other luxury brands, deliveries slipped at BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Volume jumped 33 percent at Volvo and 0.7 percent at Jaguar. Land Rover posted its first monthly decline in sales since December 2014, snapping a 15-month streak of gains, with April volume off 2.3 percent.

Hyundai posted its first decline this year with April deliveries down 8.5 percent.

At Subaru, sales increased 6.6 percent to 50,380 in April compared with a year earlier — its 53rd consecutive month of growth. The company reconfirmed its 2016 U.S. sales target of 600,000 vehicles, which would mark Subaru’s eight-consecutive year of growth.

Among other automakers, April sales rose 6.1 percent at Kia, 8.6 percent at Mazda and 18 percent at Mitsubishi.

U.S. sales have now advanced 3.3 percent to 5.593 million this year through April and are on pace to rise for a seventh straight year.

Low gasoline prices, healthy incentives, favorable finance offers, pockets of pent-up demand and a stable national economy continue to support new-vehicle sales, analysts say.

Among major automakers, TrueCar estimates April incentives averaged $4,713 per vehicle at BMW AG, $3,911 at Daimler AG, $3,423 at Ford, $3,909 at GM, $1,631 at Honda, $2,201 at Hyundai, $2,839 at Kia, $3,298 at Nissan, $572 at Subaru, $2,017 at Toyota and $3,276 at the Volkswagen Group.

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