Sales numbers for April are coming in today, and there are more signs that the American public has pent up energy to buy new cars. As they did in 2008, higher gas prices are driving demand for smaller, fuel efficient cars. U.S. Automakers are more prepared for that demand this time around.
Update 3:50 p.m.
Chrysler announced the "best April sales since 2008" - a 22% increase compared with sales in April 2010. The company sold 95,703 cars in April.
From the company's statement:
The new 2011 Chrysler 200 and the new 2011 Dodge Avenger mid-size sedans helped drive the significant increase in Chrysler Group car sales in April. This was the best month for Chrysler Group mid-size sedans since March 2008.
Sales of the new 2012 Fiat 500 were up 76 percent compared with the previous month of March 2011, also helping to boost Chrysler Group’s car sales in April.
“Both our retail car and truck sales were up significantly in April as we continued to build upon our sales growth momentum on the heels of a solid first quarter,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO – Ram Truck Brand and Lead Executive for U.S. Sales. “Our mid-size cars had their best month since March 2008, and every Jeep® and Ram Truck model that we sell experienced a year-over-year sales gain in April. Our truck and SUV sales remained strong in April even in the face of rising gas prices at the pump. Our new product line up is resonating quite well with consumers.”
Update 2:50 p.m.
Ford reported a 16% in April sales versus a year ago. The company sold 189,778 vehicles in April (around 43,000 fewer vehicles than GM).
This from Ford's press release:
Consumer demand for Ford’s fuel-efficient vehicles continues to grow, with April sales increasing 16 percent versus a year ago and year-to-date sales up 16 percent – totaling 686,498 vehicles.
“With gasoline prices eclipsing $3.90 a gallon, consumers are placing an even higher priority on fuel efficiency in every size and kind of vehicle,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Ford’s plan to lead in fuel efficiency is saving our customers money at the pump and helping us to profitably grow our business.”
The first to report today was GM. The company reported a sales jumped as more people bought fuel efficient vehicles.
From the Associated Press:
General Motors' U.S. sales of cars and truck jumped 27 percent in April as the economy continued to improve and $4 a gallon gasoline pushed buyers into more efficient vehicles.
The largest U.S. car company says it sold 232,538 vehicles last month, led by small cars and crossover vehicles.
GM says it sold more than 25,000 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars. It was the best month for the Cruze since it was introduced last fall.
GM is the first major car company to report U.S. sales on Tuesday. Analysts expect overall industry sales in the U.S. to increase 19 percent from April 2010.
GM says it expects to gain market share in April even though it cut spending on discounts.