While several major makers have yet to weigh in, preliminary numbers confirm that the U.S. new car market continued gaining momentum in April – though there were a few setbacks, notably for the two largest of the domestic makers.
But it is likely to wrap up as another month of record-setting sales for at least some makers, including Volkswagen of America, which enjoyed its best April in more than 40 years. Chrysler, meanwhile, posted yet another a double-digit sales increase. Preliminary numbers for Japanese makers are mixed, Nissan reporting a rare down month while Toyota, still recovering from last year’s shortages, reported an 11.6% gain for the month.
But both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors posted sales declines as the automakers reduced fleet sales. Despite the setback, however, GM raised its full-year light vehicle sales forecast to the range of 14.0 million to 14.5 million units from earlier estimates of 13.5 million to 14 million units. A growing number of industry analysts now believe 2012 could wrap up with sales in the low to mid-14 million range.