Total light vehicle sales were up 10.3 percent from a year ago and 14.9 percent vs. March, according to AutoData, which put the seasonally adjusted annual rate at 14.42 million units. Big winners were Audi, Chrysler and Volkswagen, while Ford and General Motors reported sales decline.
Audi: The German automaker reported a record-setting April with a 15 percent sales increase in new vehicles sold. This marked the 16th consecutive month of record sales in the U.S. market, with April also marking the fourth best month ever for the brand. Sales of the A8, A7 (91.2 percent sales increase from a year ago), A6 (136.8 percent sales increase) and Q7 (12.3 percent increase) jumped 52 percent and represented 31.2 percent of total sales.
BMW/Mini: The BMW Group reported April U.S. sales of 26,793 vehicles, a 6.1 increase from a year ago. Year-to-date sales were up 13.7 percent on sales of 102,522 vehicles for the first four months of the year. Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 12 percent to a total of 21,062 units sold. Year-to-date sales were up 15.7 percent for the first four months of 2011. Top sellers included the X5 SAV (up 50.9 percent), the 3 Series (up 20.8 percent) and the 6 Series (up 92.9 percent).
Mini USA reported sales of 5,731 units in April, a decrease of 11.1 percent from the record 6,446 units sold in April 2011. Year-to-date sales were up 6 percent for the first four months of the year.
Chrysler Group: The Detroit automaker realized its best April since 2008, with sales up 20 percent (141,165 units sold) from the year-ago period. The Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck and FIAT brands each posted sales increase in April vs. a year ago, with FIAT recording a sizable 336 percent year-over-year sales gain — the largest percentage increase of any Chrysler Group brand in April.
Chrysler brand sales were up 56 percent in April, representing the brand’s best April sales since 2007. All three Chrysler models contributed to the strong showing, with sales of the Chrysler 300 up 138 percent from a year ago. The Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan each posted double-digit sales gains, while the Chrysler 200 set an April sales record with a 61 percent sales increase from the year-ago period.
Jeep brand sales increased 19 percent in April compared to a year ago, the brands best April in five years. The Jeep Wrangler led the way with a record-setting April, recording a 35 percent sales increase. The Liberty, Grand Cherokee and Patriot also posted sales gains in April vs. a year ago, with the Grand Cherokee recording its best April in seven years.
The Ram Truck brand posted its best April sales in four years, while Dodge brand sales increased 2 percent in April, which was enough for the brand to record its best April since 2008. Dodge was led by the Dodge Avenger, which set an all-time sales record with a 47 percent sales increase. The Challenger, Grand Caravan and Journey also recorded April sales records.[PAGEBREAK]
Ford: Sales retreated by 5 percent from the year-ago period for the Detroit automaker, although the Fusion and Edge models set all-time April records with 21,610 and 10,520 units sold, respectively. Ford Focus sales were up 13 percent for the month, and 57 percent year to date — marking the strongest start for the Focus since 2001. The Explorer enjoyed its best April since 2005 with 13,419 units sold. Year-to-date sales of the SUV totaled 47,037 units, up 12 percent.
The Ford F-Series sales grew by 4 percent, it’s best April since 2007. EcoBoost accounted for 43 percent of F-150 sales for the month.
General Motors: Sales for the domestic automaker fell 8 percent in April vs. the year-ago period. Retail sales were essentially flat, increasing a modest 0.2 percent to 156,280 units sold. Fleet sales fell 25 percent due to the “timing of rental customer deliveries,” said company officials.
The Cadillac brand suffered a 25 percent decrease in sales, while Buick experienced a 16.1 percent decrease in sales vs. the year-ago period. Chevrolet sales dropped 8.4 percent, while GMC brand vehicles rose 4.4 percent.
The Chevrolet Sonic was the biggest winner in April, with sales rising 28 percent. Despite being hurt by limited availability in California, sales of the Chevrolet Volt were strong nationally, officials said. Despite the tough month, the company increased its estimation of the seasonally adjusted annual rate for car sales from 13.5-14 million to 14-14.5 million units.
Honda/Acura: Total sales for the month came in at 122,012 units, a 10 percent increase based on the daily selling rate. The Honda division posted a 9.2 percent sale increase vs. a year ago, while Acura recorded an 18 percent increase vs. the year-ago period.
Honda Accord sales were up more than 40 percent vs. a year ago, while the CR-V recorded a new sales record for the month. The Odyssey and Ridgeline also posted double-digital percentage sales gains compared to a year ago, while Civic sales jumped more than 600 percent on heightened fuel-price sensitivity.
The 2013 Acura RDX jumped out of the gate with a 65 percent sales increase. All core Acura models (TL, TSX, RDX and MDX) posted double-digit sales gains compared to a year ago, while the MDX remained Acura’s best-selling model.
Hyundai: The Korean carmaker recorded a record April and the second best sales month in company history. With three fewer selling days this April vs. a year ago, the company’s average daily sales rate improved 12 percent. The all-new Azera jumped out of the gate with a 399 percent sales gain for the model vs. a year ago, while Hyundai’s family of RWD premium products, the Genesis and Equus, realized a 36 percent sales gain vs. a year ago.[PAGEBREAK]
Mazda: The automaker realized a 4.2 percent sales gain on a daily selling rate vs. a year ago. This was the best April sales month for Mazda since 2008, with year-to-date sales up 21.5 percent vs. a year ago to 103,529 units sold. Not since 1994 has Mazda reached the 100,000 mark this early in the year.
The company reported that 3,521 units of the new CX-5, which was in its second full month of sales. Mazda 6 sales were up 38.3 percent vs. last year, while sales of the Mazda 5 and 2 dropped 31.2 and 23.4 percent, respectively. Sales of the RX-8 dropped 81.5 percent.
Mercedes-Benz: the German carmaker reported a 23.8 percent improvement in sales vs. April 2011, with 22,336 units sold. Year-to-date sales were up 17.5 percent. Leading the way were the C-, E- and M-Class model lines, with the C-Class taking the overall lead with 6,424 units sold. It was followed by the E-Class with 5,328 units sold. The M-Class reported 3,057 units sold, a 53.6 percent increase vs. a year ago.
Also coming up big were the CLS and SLK, which experienced sales increases of 522.1 and 215.5 percent, respectively. On a year-to-date basis, top performers were the C-Class (up 20.1 percent), E-Class and M-Class (up 58.2 percent). Monthly sales of AMG models were up 55.1 percent vs. a year ago and up 60.6 percent year to date.
The company’s smart brand continued its six-month string of sales increases with a 63 percent jump in sales vs. a year ago. Year-to-date sales were up 74.6 percent.
Nissan/Infiniti: Sales for Nissan North America dropped 0.3 percent, while Nissan Division sales dropped 0.9 percent vs. a year ago. Sales of Infiniti vehicles were up 5.4 percent vs. a year ago. The Versa posted a new April record, with 8,335 deliveries, a 30 percent increase from a year ago, while the Rogue realized a 1.8 percent increase. Sales of the Frontier were up 21.9 percent, while Pathfinder, Titan and Quest sales increased 26.5, 25.1 and 96 percent, respectively.
Infiniti sales were up 5.4 percent from a year ago, with 7,129 units sold for the month of April. In its first full month, JX deliveries total 2,079 units, making it the brand’s second-best selling model.
Toyota: Toyota Motor Sales reported a 25.5 percent sales increase in a daily selling rate basis, with 178,044 units sold. The Toyota Division posted a 27.2 percent sales increase, with volume sales up 13.1 percent vs. a year ago. The Lexus Division reported a 12.3 percent sales increase, with 17,551 units sold for the month. On a volume basis, sales for the luxury brand were flat from last year.
Toyota Division passenger cars posted combined sales of 99,450 units, up 44.3 percent from a year ago. The Camry and Camry hybrid led the way with a 26.1 percent increase year over year. The Prius family recorded its best April with sales of 25,168 units, a 126.9 percent increase vs. a year ago. Corolla reported sales of 24,804 units, up 15.2 percent vs. a year ago. Avalon sales were up 20.9 percent.
Toyota Division light truck sales were up 6.5 percent, with the RAV4 posting a 9.7 percent increase. The Highlander and Highlander hybrid realized an 18.3 percent increase vs. a year ago, while the 4Runner experienced a 5.7 percent jump in sales. Tacoma sales were up 16.7 percent.
Scion posted an 8.4 percent increase vs. a year ago, with the tC leading with way with 2,008 units sold.
Lexus sold 9,441 passenger cars, up 25.6 percent from a year ago. The ES led the way with sales of 3,000 units. IS sales were flat with 2,344 units sold, while the GS and GS hybrid posted combined sales of 2,006 units, a 486.2 percent increase vs. a year ago. Lexus utility vehicles reported sales of 8,110 units, flat vs. a year ago.
Volkswagen: The German automaker reported a 31.5 sales increase in April, the best April for the company since 1971. Year-to-date sales stood at 38 percent. Passat sales exceeded 10,000 units, recording its second record month in a row. The Jetta remained the volume leader for the company with sales totaling 13,754 units, while the Beetle sold 2,065 units. The Tiguan continued to see strong sales with 2,333 units sold and the Golf realized a 14.6 percent increase in sales.