Metro Weekly

Auto industry recovering well as Ford, GM and Chrysler all make gains

In an encouraging sign for the Big Three — America’s three biggest automakers — April has been another solid month of increasing sales for the auto industry. GM, Chrysler and Ford are all posting double-digit sales gains, and the overall market has swelled from its position this time last year, with projected sales of 1.3 million — an 11% increase compared with April 2012.

Crossovers, light-trucks and large pickups remain the most sought after vehicles, with the latter two buoyed by gains in the housing and construction markets, with all three expected to increase overall sales this year to around 15.4 million autos, an increase of almost 1 million over last year.

GM sales rose 11% last month, with Cadillac up 34%, and Chevy and Buick swelling by 11% each. Ford increased its sales by 18% through April, with Lincoln increasing its volume by 21%. Chrysler has enjoyed strong growth thanks to its Ram trucks, which jumped 49% in sales last month and increased 23% over last year, which helped Chrysler post gains of 11% in April. Dodge deliveries increased by 18%, while Jeep and Fiat saw the lowest gains of 2 and 1% respectively. Chrysler can now mark 37 months of solid, consecutive gains on its calendar.

International makers had reason to celebrate, as well, with Hyundai reporting a 2% rise, and Honda enjoying a 7% increase in sales. Nissan’s sales climbed 23% during April, with Infiniti’s deliveries increasing by 10%.

Volkswagen and Toyota, however, may wish to forget about April. The German marque posted a 10% drop in sales — it’s first since August 2010 — which was marginally offset by an increase of 14% in its Audi brand. Toyota posted modest sales losses of 1%, in contrast with a 9% rise in March.

In keeping with self-made stereotypes, Americans continue to flock to pick-ups, with new models and old favorites continuing to perform well — the Chevrolet Silverado increased sales by 28%, and Ram selling over 31,000 trucks in April. Redesigns are proving popular too — Ford is recognizing increased demand for its latest Escape and Fusion models, and Dodge’s brand new Dart helping to buoy its sales, with a 65% increase in demand for the Durango not hurting either.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at