Counting Cars

April U.S. Sales Validate Q1 Results

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As forecasted by WardsAuto, April U.S. LV sales kept pace with first quarter results which had tracked well ahead of early projections.

April 2012 U.S. LV Sales
Forecast SAAR: 14.38million units
 Actual SAAR: 14.39 million units
Forecast Volume: 1,180,977
Actual Volume: 1,181,059

As forecasted by WardsAuto, April U.S. LV sales kept pace with first quarter results which had tracked well ahead of early projections.

April results indicate that the first three months were the real deal, rather than a good-weather induced uptick, or fleet-boosted anomoly, and point toward a full-year 2012 that should outperform earlierforecasts.

Auto makers are collectivey tracking roughly 10% ahead of last year, with April SAAR's nearing the Q1 average.

Taken together, Detroit 3 companies are lagging the rest of the industry, with daily sales for the fourth month of 2012 (wth 24 selling days) up 11.6% vs, year-ago, led by another 30+% increase in Chrysler DSR.

Ford had a respectable 7.1% lift, while GM managed a 3.2% increase.

It was something of a statement month for GM, which had its lowest market share since at least the 1930s last month, accounting for only 16.5% of U.S LV sales. The companys April sales, fueled by fleet sales and positive performances at Chevy an GMC were dampened by poor yr/yr showings from Buick and Cadillac, should earn GM  around an 18% share once everyone's reported.

Toyota reported a 25.1% jump over last year's anemic sales. That put the Japanese company in the No. 2 spot for the month, edging out Ford for the first time since July 2010.

Subaru added its own 19.5% increase to the mix, with sales of 26,310. Kia sales were up13.6% and Hyundai sales grew 13.4%% in April vs year ago.

Honda, whose sales have been hampered by ongoing inventory problems for the better part of the last 12 months, has been an enigma, gaining little traction in recent months as it failed to build up supply to meed presumed demand. The company claimed to have their stocks up to fighting levels in April, and their sales supported that - rising 10% over year ago to 122,012 unts. Good for the No. 5 spot among U.S. auto sellers.

 Nissan, however, notorious for low-selling Aprils, was up just 12.2% for the month, selling 71,329 vehicles. Ward's had speculated that the company might increase fleet sales above trend in April, but these sales didn't materialize. And Mitsubishi slid -26.5% on total sales o just 5,280 units.

Those shortfalls, however, were more than made up for by European auto makers who had a better than expected April. Volkswagen was up a whopping 47.9% on a daily basis, with stablemate Audi Audi clocking in at 29.4% over year-ago. Daimler sales, incuding Mercedes and Smart were up 43.8%. BMW reported a 19.4% rise and Jaguar Land Rover posted a 16.1% uptick.

Volvo (-14.8%) and the basically defunct Saab (off an estimated 74%) were losers, but overall, European auto makers were up more than 30% in April, and 20.3% for the year so far - nearly double the overall YTD industry uptick of 10%.

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What's Counting Cars?

Blogs and commentary about automotive data, industry trends, and the future of the auto industry.

Contributors

John Sousanis

John Sousanis oversees WardsAuto data operations as Director of Information Content, and is Ward’sAuto sales analyst. Follow John on Twitter @CountingCars.  

Haig Stoddard

Haig Stoddard is a veteran automotive industry analyst. His current focus is North America production and longterm sales forecasting.
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