CHRYSLER GROUP +20%April saw another in a long string of sales increases for Chrysler, but this one wasn't as big as previous ones. Also, industry analysts say that the company's incentive spending is the highest of any automaker.
All three Chrysler models enjoyed significant gains in April, but the 300 (+138%) was far out in front.
Dodge is winding down both the Nitro and the Caliber, which put a crimp on its total. The Durango (-36%), however, had no such excuse. The biggest increases came from the Avenger (+47%) and the Journey (+29%).
The formerly hot Compass lost its bearings in April (-20%) but all other Jeep models increased, lead by the Wrangler (+35%).
The big Ram enjoyed another 20k-plus month.
Once again, Fiat set a new monthly sales record, this time with 3849 cars.
AMERICAN HONDA -5%Honda was down slightly in April, as it was in March, but there were some bright spots, starting with a move back into fifth place overall. After falling off the Top-10 chart last month, the Honda Accord vaulted all the way up to the number three spot. And Acura finally had a positive month.
After getting pummeled by fleet-fattened competitors (as Honda insiders contend), the Accord (+26%) bounced back, big time. The CR-V (+9%) looks like a smash hit, and is the bestselling SUV in the land. Honda's fuel misers, however, have failed to capitalize on high gas prices: Fit (-61%), Insight (-72%), and CR-Z (-82%).
The new RDX (+48%) almost singlehandedly pushed Acura ahead. Next month, the new ILX can lend a hand, with the RL replacement also due soon. But what will save the ZDX (-60%)?
HYUNDAI-KIA +1%What's this? Hyundai-Kia sales did NOT grow faster than the industry average? Both divisions were in positive territory, but just barely, as the Koreans took a bit of a breather.
Despite the addition of the Veloster, and nice increases for the Accent (+40%) and the Genesis (+34%), Hyundai had a decidedly unspectacular April, dragged down by the Elantra (-24%) and to a lesser degree by the Sonata (-6%). It's worth noting, however, that Hyundai claims to have the lowest incentive spending in the industry.
The Optima (+69%) and the Rio (+56%) could only do so much in the face of Kia's lagging SUVs and minivan: Sportage (-31%), Sorento (20%), and Sedona (-15%).
NISSAN NORTH AMERICA +0%Nissan's April sales were flat, and it fell to seventh place overall.
Nissan -1% Nissan's record sales of 41,050 Altimas last month proved unsurprisingly unsustainable, and Altima sales were less than half that in April -- although a new version is right around the corner. The Versa (+30%), had another good month, but sales of the Cube have collapsed (-69%) and the Leaf is running at about one-fifth the volume of the Chevy Volt. Things were better on the truck side, thanks to the Quest (+96%), the Frontier (+22%), the Pathfinder (+27%), and the Titan (+25%).
Even as all other Infiniti models declined in April, the arrival of the JX pushed the division's total into the black.
The C-class (+23%) gave passenger-car sales a push, but the bigger action was on the truck side, with new M-class (+54%) and the not-so-new GL (+71%). Let's not forget the Sprinter (76%), which is threatening to overtake the GLK. Meanwhile, it's a race to the bottom between the R-class (131 units, down 33%) and the G-class (82 units, off 7%).
Suddenly Smart? The dinky two-seater seems to be benefitting from increased fuel prices.
Maybach sales surged, with 4 cars sold, versus 3 last April. Maybe the brand deserves a reprieve.