April Auto Sales Exceed Expectations
U.S. industry light vehicle auto sales figures for April were released today and are projected at an estimated 14.6 million units Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR). Actual sales were higher than the 14.4 SAAR forecast by various analysts prior to the announcement.
Chrysler Group LLC reported its best April sales since April 2008 with U.S. sales of 141,165 units. This is a 20% gain from April 2011’s sales with the Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram Truck, and FIAT brands all reporting annual sales increases. The FIAT brand’s jumped 336% y-o-y while the Chrysler Group recorded its 11th consecutive month of at least 20% sales increases. Chrysler Group finished the month with a 59-days supply of inventory (344,453 units).
General Motors Co. reported April sales of 213,387 vehicles in the United States, down 8% due to fleet sales dropping 25%. On a selling-day adjusted basis as there were 3 more days this April than last, GM total sales were up 3%. On the same basis, retail sales were up for Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC by 13%, 8%, and 17% respectively. Cadillac retail sales were 0.3% lower than in April 2011. General Motors’ inventory at the end of April was 701,389 units with a 79 days’ supply, down from 713,008 units in March with an 86 days’ supply.
Ford Motor Company April U.S. sales dropped 5% compared to last year, at 180,350. However, fuel-efficient vehicle sales were up with the Ford Fusion and Edge setting all-time April records, Explorer reporting its best April sales since 2005 and F-Series sales reaching its best April sales since 2007. Ford’s total car sales were down annually 11.2% for April, followed by utilities and trucks posting about a 1% decline each.
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., reported a 25.5% y-o-y increase in sales to 178,044 units for April based on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. On a DSR basis, the Toyota Division increased sales by 27.2% to 160,493. Toyota Division passenger cars posted a 44.3% sales increase to 99,450 units while light trucks were up 6.5% to 61,043 units sold.
Lexus Division reported sales up 12.3% to 17,551 units. Hybrids were on the rise with TMS posting a 124.6% increase in hybrid vehicles to sales of 32,593 units, Toyota Division increasing hybrid sales 142.7% and Lexus Division increasing 17.6%.
Nissan North America, Inc. reported April U.S. sales of 71,329 units, down 0.3% due to Nissan Division sales dropping 0.9% to 64,200 units. However, Infiniti vehicle sales were up 5.4% to 7,129 units. Total car sales for Nissan were down 9%, but truck sales were up 17.4% y-o-y. Selling days dropped from 27 in April 2011 to 24 last month.
According to Kia Motors America’s press release, the company has been the fastest growing car company in the United States over the past five years; with best-ever April sales of 47,550 units. April marked the 20th consecutive month for Kia’s sales records due to high demand for the Optima midsize sedan and Sorento CUV built at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia and the Soul.
Hyundai Motor America announced an all-time April sales record of 62,264 units, which was the second best sales month in company history after last month’s all-time record. In order to meet retail demand, business to fleet accounts continues to run at less than a 10 percent mix. The company has just announced that they will add a third shift of production to its Montgomery, AL facility. This shift will add 877 positions and will increase the plant’s annual capacity by approximately 20,000 units for the fuel efficient Sonata and Elantra sedans. The third shift will begin in September 2012.
Sources: Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors, Nissan North America, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Ford Motor Company, General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC