General Motors Co. (GM), the largest U.S. automaker, and Ford Motor Co. (F), the second largest, reported lower U.S. vehicles sales, hurt by fewer selling days and weaker fleet sales. However, Chrysler Group LLC continued its strong momentum with a 20% growth as did Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. (TM: Quote) with a 11.6% rise in U.S. vehicle sales.
GM said that its April U.S. sales fell 8.2% to 213,387 units from 232,538 units in the same month last year.
April 2102 had 24 selling days, while April 2011 had 27.
For April, total Chevrolet brand sales fell 8.4% to 155,487 units, while total GMC sales grew 4.5% to 32,603 units. Total Cadillac sales for the month dropped 25% to 9,851 units, while total Buick sales slipped 16.1% to 15,446 units.
GM'S retail sales for April were essentially flat with last year, while its fleet sales declined 25% from a year earlier due to the timing of rental customer deliveries.
Based on higher than expected first quarter industry sales and expectations that the U.S. economy will continue to grow, GM raised its full-year light vehicle sales forecast to 14.0 million to 14.5 million units from its earlier forecast of 13.5 million to14.0 million units.
Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford said it sold 180,350 vehicles in the U.S. in April, down 5% from 189,778 vehicles sold in the same month last year. For March, Ford had reported a 5% increase in U.S. vehicles sales.
Ford's car sales slipped 11.2% year-over-year to 64,789 units in April, while truck sales fell 1.1% to 64,837 units. Utility vehicle sales declined 1% to 50,724 units.
Sales of Ford brand vehicles fell 4.7% to 174,042 units, while sales of Lincoln brand vehicles dropped 12.8% to 6,308 units.
April sales of Ford's small car Focus rose 12.5% to 19,425 vehicles. Last month, Ford recalled about 140,310 Focus cars amid worries that a missing moisture seal could hurt the motor that runs the passenger side windshield wiper. The cars involved in the recall are model year 2012 manufactured between August 2010 and October 2011.
April sales of another fuel-efficient small car Fusion grew 2% to 21,610 units, but sales of subcompact Fiesta dropped 43.9% to 5,135 units.
Sales of Ford's F-Series truck, America's best-selling truck for 35 years in a row and America's best-selling vehicle, car or truck, for 30 straight years, rose 4.4% to 47,453 units in April.
Ford was less ravaged by the recession than most of its peers. The company also did not have to restructure with federal assistance. The automaker has reported a profit for each of its last twelve quarters. The company has also reinstated its quarterly stock dividend.
Last week, Ford reported first quarter profit of $1.40 billion, down 45% from $2.55 billion in the first quarter of last year.
Chrysler Group LLC, which is majority owned by Italy-based Fiat SpA (FIATY.PK), reported that its U.S. vehicle sales for the month of April increased 20% to 141,165 units from 117,225 units in the same month last year. The company has now reported 25 straight months of year-over-year sales gains.
Chrysler's total car sales for the month rose 37% to 49,603 units, while its total truck sales increased 13% to 91,562 units.
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., a unit of Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), said its U.S. vehicle sales for April rose 11.6% to 178,044 units from 159,540 units in April last year.
Total Toyota division sales in April 2012 were 160,493 units, up 13.1% from 141,964 units in the same month last year. Total Lexus division sales in April 2012 edged down 0.1% from last year to 17,551 units.
Among other automakers reporting U.S. vehicle sales Tuesday, Nissan North America, Inc.,a unit of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NSANY.PK), reported April U.S. sales of 71,329 units, down 0.3% from 71,526 units a year earlier. Nissan Division sales decreased 0.9% to 64,200 units in April, while sales of Infiniti vehicles were up 5.4% over the prior year to 7,129 units. Total car sales fell 9% to 43,584 units, while total truck sales rose 17.4% to 27,745 units.
GM shares are currently trading at $23.36, up 36 cents or 1.57%, while Ford shares are currently trading at $11.26, down 3 cents.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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