The headline number for April new-cars sales is +20%. That figure represents the increase over last April, which you'll remember was a disaster of historic proportions. Still, the increase is another hopeful sign that, for the auto industry, the worst is now behind us. The pace of the recovery, however, is plodding. Volumes actually slipped a bit versus March, but the 11.5-million-unit annual sales rate still looks pretty decent compared to a year ago, when we were staring at a 9.5-million-unit year. No one is expecting a sudden downturn in the months ahead, so cautious optimism rules the day. - Joe Lorio
APRIL 2010 SALES, AND PERCENTAGE INCREASE/DECREASE OVER APRIL 2009
GENERAL MOTORS +20% (that's New GM: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC)
It doesn't seem fair to include the results from GM's discontinued brands, whose sell-off is nearly complete, so we won't. Without them, GM was off slightly from March but still made a healthy gain over last year, staying ahead of Ford and Toyota to keeping number one spot.
The LaCrosse continues to power ahead, passing the Enclave (which is up as well) to become Buick's biggest-volume seller. The Lucerne continues to sink.
Cadillac exactly matched Buick's performance, and here too the credit goes almost entirely to the division's newest model. For Cadillac, it's the SRX, which is outselling its predecessor by nearly 6 to 1 and has eclipsed the CTS (which slipped at bit) to become the best-selling Caddy.
Here again, the newest entries - the Camaro and the Equinox - are enjoying banner sales. Of the other models, it was the Aveo and the Cobalt (both up 29%) that pitched in the most. The Malibu, the Traverse, and the Silverado had modest increases.
The addition of the Terrain accounted for the entirety of GMC's increased volume over last year. Otherwise, things were fairly static, with the Yukon down but the Yukon XL up, the Sierra up but the Canyon down, and the Acadia flat.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY +25% (would have been +26% with Volvo, which eked out a tiny gain)
After the media darling announced a $2 billion profit for the first quarter, Ford's sales results were a bit of a letdown, falling slightly from last month although still posting another big increase over last year - and passing Toyota to move into second place. Like GM, though, fully 32% of Ford sales were to fleets.
The Taurus and the Expedition both about doubled last year's figures. A better than 40% jump for the Escape, the Explorer, and the F-series (in particular) helped volumes as well. Only the Mustang (-33%) really disappointed; it got its clock cleaned by the Camaro.
Mercury looks pretty good until you notice that most of its increase comes from the aged Grand Marquis. At least the Milan and the Mariner were up, too.
Like Mercury, Lincoln's growth came from its oldest models, the Town Car and the Navigator.