CHICAGO, May 2 — US auto sales looked set to continue their winning streak in April as General Motors, Ford and Chrysler reported double digit growth yesterday while rival Toyota posted a modest loss.
Hot new models and low interest rates lured customers into showrooms to replace ageing vehicles they had held onto for far longer than usual as a result of the 2008 financial meltdown and subsequent deep economic downturn.
Total industry sales were forecast to surpass an annualised sales pace of 15 million vehicles for the sixth month in a row once all automakers have reported.
“We’re forecasting the best April car sales since 2007, and that’s consistent with the strong growth we’ve seen in the last several months,” said Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell.
“Sales are almost back to pre-recession levels, so as long as automakers keep reporting their best sales in at least five years, we’ll continue to be in good shape.”
The automotive website forecast that sales will rise 10.4 per cent from April 2012 while rival Kelly Blue Book was more optimistic, forecasting an 11.4 per cent gain.
Ford managed to beat both their forecasts by reporting an 18 per cent gain to 212,584, the number two US automaker’s best April since 2007.
“We are working harder than ever to keep pace with record demand for our all-new, fuel-efficient Fusion and Escape — with sales growth particularly strong on the coasts,” Ford sales chief Ken Czubay said in a statement.
“F-Series pickups also continue to build on their momentum as the housing and construction industries rebound.”
Chrysler also posted its best April results in six years as sales rose 11 per cent to 156,698 vehicles. The number three US automaker has now posted 37 consecutive months of sales gains.
“Our sales last month were solid across the board with seven Chrysler Group vehicles recording their best April sales ever,” Chrysler sales chief Reid Bigland said in a statement.
GM marked its best April in five years after sales rose 11 per cent to 237,646 vehicles.
“Car-buying conditions are strong and will continue to release pent-up demand,” GM sales chief Kurt McNeil said in a statement.
“We’re very optimistic because GM’s market share is growing, the economy continues to move forward and important car and truck launches are just getting underway.”
Toyota bucked the trend as sales fell 1.1 per cent to 176,160 vehicles.
“From an industry standpoint, continued retail sales growth indicates the underlying strength of the market, which is a great sign for the months ahead, especially with new products, low interest rates and plenty of pent up demand,” said Bill Fay, general manager of Toyota Motor Sales, USA. — AFP-Relaxnews