April US New Car Sales Increase 4.6% – Below Expectations

Sales of light vehicles in the US increased nicely for almost every automaker in April, driven mostly by the rising sales of SUVs and pickup trucks.  Total vehicle sales increased 4.6% over last year to 1.45MM, the 14th consecutive month of gains.  Despite the increase, results were short of Wall Street expectations of a 5.9% increase, as reported by Bloomberg.  In terms of vehicle segments, truck sales increased by 11% over last year, while sales of cars actually fell 1.6%

On a seasonally adjusted annual basis, total sales rose to 16.5MM units, recording an increase of 450,000 from over last year, but a just a tick short of analyst expectations of 16.7MM units and also short of March’s 17.1MM unit run-rate.  Key manufacturer results are shown below.

General Motors (GM)

General Motors, the largest US automaker, saw a 6% increase over last year.  Cross-over vehicle sales were up 25% over April 2014, recording GM’s best month for the segment to date.  On a brand basis, GM’s truck division, GMC recorded a stellar 20% increase, with Cadillac also posting a strong increase of 14%.  Buick, fell 3.4%.


April sales were up 5.4% for Ford as a whole, with the Lincoln brand posting a strong 20% gain. Its Ford counterpart was up a healthy 4.9%.  Ford also had its best month since April 2008 for sales of its sport-utility vehicles.  Oddly enough, sales of the immensely popular Ford F150 truck continued to be slow, with sales of the F-series declining 1% overall.  Ford cited supply of the aluminium bodied F150 as a significant challenge, but also mentioned that production for the second quarter would continue to increase in its plant in Kansas City, MO.

Fiat Chrysler (FCA)

Fiat Chrysler saw gains of 6% over last year, recording its 61st consecutive monthly gain.  Its Jeep brand posted a strong 20% gain over last year, with 71,759 units sold.  Chrysler was also up by a strong 26%.  FCA’s Ram brand also saw a 4.3% gain.  The Dodge and Fiat brands, on the other hand, fell by 16% and 13% respectively.  Dodge’s decline was explained by the end of production of the Avenger sedan and a suspension of production of the popular Caravan minivan, because of plant retooling in Windsor, Ontario.


Nissan reported an increase of 5.7% over last year, with its Nissan brand posting 5.4% and its luxury division, Infiniti, increasing 8.8%.


Hyundai’s April sales increased 2.9% over last year, despite some analyst expectations of a decline.  Turns out that April was a record month for Hyundai, with 68,009 vehicles sold.


Subaru also had a record April, with 16,827 vehicles delivered, an increase of 18% over last year and the 41st consecutive month sales gains.


Sales increased a strong 7.5% over last year.


Sales increased by a stellar 26% for the Japanese manufacturer.


April was the 52nd consecutive month of sales gains for Audi.  The company saw sales increase 7.5% over the prior year, with 16,827 vehicles sold.


Sales volume for VW branded vehicles declined 2.7% compared to last year.


Porsche recorded a whopping 28% gain over last year.  Originally an exclusive manufacturer of sports cars, Porsche is very much enjoying the increased demand for light trucks.  Its truck sales increased by 80% over last year, driven by its new Macan model.  On a year to date basis, truck sales are up 54% over last year, with car sales down by 11%.


Mercedes reported (excluding Sprinter Van) US sales of 29,188, an increase of 8.9% over last year.


BMW recorded a sales gain of 8.1% over last year, delivering 26,952 vehicles.


Lexus, despite being lagging BMW and Mercedes-Benz in deliveries on a year-to-date basis, posted the strongest growth number over last year, namely 17%.

For a complete breakdown of sales by manufacturer on SpeediMango, please see our April US New Car Sales data.  Also, check out the Top-20 best-selling cars in April.


Posted by: Farra Majid on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 at 6:15 am in INDUSTRY