US auto sales streak as car makers post high growth

US auto sales streak as car makers post high growth

CHICAGO - Agence France-Presse
US auto sales streak as car makers post high growth

Ford Motor, one top three US automakers, reported a 18 percent surge in April sales that were fueled by its best April for truck sales since April 2005.

U.S. auto sales extended their winning streak in April as General Motors, Ford and Chrysler reported double digit growth while rival Toyota posted a modest loss.

Hot new models and low interest rates lured customers into showrooms to replace aging 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 rose 8.5 percent in April and were up 6.9 percent for the first four months of the year, according to Autodata. Demand came in below expectations at an annualized rate of 14.9 million vehicles after the five previous months posted performances around 15.3 million.

Ripe conditions remain

But automakers and analysts said economic conditions remain ripe for strong growth in the coming months.
Ford economist Jenny Lin said pickup truck sales have been particularly robust thanks to the fact that the housing sector’s recovery is “in full swing.” “Encouragingly, consumer spending growth pace is picking up,” Lin added. Ford managed to beat forecasts by reporting an 18 percent gain to 212,584 vehicles, in what was the number two US automaker’s best April since 2007.

Chrysler also posted its best April results in six years as sales rose 11 percent to 156,698 vehicles. The number three US automaker has now posted 37 consecutive months of sales gains.

GM marked its best April in five years after sales rose 11 percent to 237,646 vehicles.

The Detroit Three automakers all posted market share gains in April and together won 46.9 percent of their home market, up from 44.8 percent in April 2012, according to Autodata.

GM, Ford and Chrysler commanded 65 percent of the market as recently as 2000, according to Ward’s Auto.
Japanese rival Toyota meanwhile gave up 1.3 points of share as its sales fell 1.1 percent to 176,160 vehicles in April.

But the automaker forecast a better performance in the coming months once its new products hit showrooms.