Automakers posted their strongest April sales since 2007 as many reported double-digit gains with trucks and SUVs leading the surge.
General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and Nissan all posted strong gains in April from a year earlier. Hyundai posted a marginal sales bump, while Toyota was down slightly and Volkswagen was down more than 10 percent.
Truck sales were crucial to the success of the Big Three U.S. automakers in April, thanks largely to the improving economy, said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with Edmunds.com. Overall sales were the best for April in six years, according to Edmunds.
“A lot of this comes from housing, an increase in construction, and the economy recovering in general,” Caldwell said. “It's also not just construction but people investing in businesses.”
Ford Motor Co.'s sales rose about 18 percent this April from last. The automaker's venerable F-Series pickup — the bestselling vehicle in the U.S. for 36 years — rose about 24 percent in the same period.
General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group reported 11 percent growth in April. Chrysler's Ram truck division saw sales rise 49 percent from a year earlier. Sales of GM's twin trucks, the GMC Sierra and the Chevrolet Silverado, were up a combined 23.6 percent.
The GM trucks also got a boost from generous incentives, Caldwell said, as dealers are looking to make room for the all-new 2014 models due in the coming months. Ram is also recovering from low inventory when the heavily revised 2013 models initially hit the showroom, Caldwell said.
Improvements in fuel economy and low financing rates also pushed more buyers into SUVs and crossovers, according to Jesse Toprak, an analyst for TrueCar.com