TOYOTA MOTOR SALES +24%
Toyota's incentive spending lost some of its effectiveness in April, as sales slipped 16% from March totals, although it was still enough for a nice gain over last year.
The redesigned 4Runner tripled sales of the old version; otherwise the top increases were around 50% for the Corolla/Matrix, the Prius, and the FJ Cruiser (of all things). The new Sienna, the Tundra, the Avalon, and the RAV4 all were up by more than a third. The only real loser was the Yaris, which fell by half.
Lexus enjoyed a slightly better increase than the Toyota division, with the recall-maligned GX posting the brand's second-best gain after the LS.
Scion continues to sink, with all three models down.
AMERICAN HONDA +13%
Honda's sales gain over last year was less than the industry average, but unlike its three larger competitors, Honda actually sold more cars in April than in March, so it is trending positive.
The Accord was up a modest 9% versus last year, but that was enough to move up from fifth place to second among the bestselling nameplates (leapfrogging both the Camry and the Corolla/Matrix in the process). Unfortunately, the Civic was down as was the Insight, which continues to disappoint. Most of the good news was on the truck side, with the Pilot, the CR-V, and the Odyssey up significantly. Even the Element and the Ridgeline saw some growth.
Like Honda, Acura's growth came from trucks: the RDX and the MDX both had better than 50% increases (the new ZDX is selling in tiny volume). Car sale actually went down despite a small gain for the TSX.
CHRYSLER GROUP +25%
Finally, some good news for Chrysler. Of course, April last year is when Chrysler declared bankruptcy, so that "+25%" is bouncing off some pretty grim numbers. The wild swings for many models suggest serious incentive money at play, but at least Chrysler passed Nissan to retake the number five spot.
How'd that happen? Sebring sales tripled, the Town & Country nearly doubled, and the 300 increased 40%. Only the PT Cruiser dropped. That's how.
Like its Chrysler counterpart, Dodge's Avenger enjoyed a massive run-up this month (+340%), which looks a lot like a fleet-sales push. Aside from the Viper (down ten units) and the Journey (essentially flat), all other Dodges increased, but by more credible levels, ranging from 14% for the Nitro to 90% for the Charger.
Despite sales of the Compass doubling and a 21% increase for the Patriot, Jeep was flat due to offsetting declines for the Wrangler, the Commander, and the Grand Cherokee.
The loss of the Sprinter wasn't much of a factor here. Instead, look to the 24% decline in Ram pickup sales.