April auto sales outpace economy (16.1 million SAAR)
April auto sales brought the spring thaw everyone had been hoping for with an 8% increase. The strong showing is attributable to pent-up demand from buyers who were snowbound in January and February, but also especially strong retail sales.
Sales momentum from March rolled into April, pushing the industry to its best back-to-back monthly sales pace since fall of 2007, Toyota division group vice president Bill Fay said in a statement.
The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) for April was 16.1 million, up from 15.2 million a year ago. The SAAR has been 16 million or higher in four of the last nine months.
Several automakers saw double digit gains: Chrysler (14%), Kia (13%), Nissan (18%), Subaru (22%) and Toyota (12%). Luxury makes did well, too, with Audi and Jaguar/ Land Rover both up 19%; Lexus jumping 28%; and Mercedes-Benz up 11%. Even General Motors, with all its recall troubles, saw a 7% sales hike.
Retail demand was steady in April, with truck sales and transaction prices especially strong, Kurt McNeil, GMês U.S. vice president of sales operations, said in a statement.
Ford was one of the few major automakers that lost sales, dropping 1%.
Transaction prices rose more than 1% from a year ago, up $389 to $32,141, according to Kelley Blue Book. Continuing their slow and steady increase, transaction prices are on the rise, but in conjunction with incentive spending, which forces them to offset one another, said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.
Across all vehicles, Ford F-Series was again the top selling vehicle last month, followed by the Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Camry, Ram Pickup and Honda Accord.Download Bulletin PDF