WASHINGTON -- Automakers General Motors (IW 500/5), Chrysler and Toyota (IW 1000/8) scored U.S. sales gains in April, extending the rebound from bad winter weather, while Ford (IW 500/8) sales unexpectedly slipped.
GM, the largest U.S. automaker, said total sales rose 7.0% in April from a year ago, to 254,076 vehicles.
Kurt McNeil, GM's U.S. vice president of sales operations, was upbeat about demand.
"The economy continues to strengthen," he said in a statement. "Retail demand was steady in April, and truck sales and transaction prices were especially strong."
Chrysler Group, the U.S. unit of Italy's Fiat (IW 1000/30), clocked in a 14% jump year over year with 178,652 vehicles sold, its best April performance since 2007.
Overall, U.S. auto sales in April are expected to have extended their spring rebound after unusually harsh winter weather in January and February hammered sales.
Edmunds.com predicted a 9.1% rise in US auto sales in April following the 5.7% gain in March, with hot demand for sport utility vehicles leading the way.
"Despite a move toward fuel-efficient vehicles in recent years, car shoppers continued to show high interest in trucks and SUVs," said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.com. "SUVs, in particular, are not only selling well, but they are selling at a quicker pace than cars, pickups, or vans. SUVs are selling on average 20 days faster than other cars and trucks."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014