April Sales: Spring Is Sprung

Aristotle allegedly said, “One swallow does not a spring make.” Meaning, of course, that one shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on scant evidence.

Aristotle allegedly said, “One swallow does not a spring make.” Meaning, of course, that one shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on scant evidence.

But if there is one thing that isn’t scant is the evidence of the fact that auto sales are getting back on track in a big way.

If you have any doubt of that, then you need only look at the April 2010 sales performance of Chrysler, which has been the perennial laggard even compared with its cross-town rivals. Here is the first sentence of the release it put out for its sales performance:

“Chrysler Group LLC today reported a U.S. sales increase of 25 percent, the best year-over-year percentage sales improvement for the company in almost five years.”

 

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Even the Sebring is rolling.

Did you get that: “almost five years”! They haven’t done this well since July 2005. And if you think about it, they haven’t had any new products of late. Consider the Sebring. Compared to last April, its sales are up 207%, and calendar year to date, the Sebring is up 110% compared with 2009. While that is by far the biggest gainer, there are several other vehicles in the Chrysler stable that are showing traction, as well.

In April 2009, GM sold 10,838 Pontiacs. In April 2010 there were just 52. In April 2009, GM sold 7,367 Saturns. In April 2010 there were just 373. GM sold 0 Saabs in April 2010, but 892 in April 2009. Yet when you add everything up, GM sold 183,091 cars and trucks in April 2010, compared with 152,997 in April 2009, a 19.7% overall improvement.

Ford? April 2010 is the fifth straight month it has marked sales increases of at least 20%. Ford brand was up 26.1% compared with April ’09; Lincoln was up 21.9%; and even Mercury is up 19.1% A remarkable number is that Ford brand is up 35.9% year to date compared with 2009.

Beleaguered Toyota? Up 24.4% compared with pre-recall April 2009. Even scary-cars Camry and Prius and Lexus ES sales were up by double digits: Camry 10.2% (27,914 units in April, which is bested only by Honda Accord at 31,677); Prius up 49.7%, and ES up 23.9%.

The funny thing about Honda is that even though it showed an overall division increase of a modest 11.7%, it still moved 102, 978 vehicles, and if you add in Acura Division’s 10,719 units (a 21.6% gain over April 2009), the total 113,697 units represent an increase of 12.5%.

Volkswagen? Up 42% and its tenth consecutive month-over-month increase. Nissan and Infiniti? Up 35.1%. Audi up 2 32.9%, including a 144% jump in Audi A3 sales, which were largely driven by the demand for the diesel TDI model. In April 2008, Subaru sold 16,771 units, which was a record for all-time April sales for the company. Needless to say, things went down in 2009, with that April seeing sales of just 15,649. And in April 2010, they smashed the previous record, moving 23,198 vehicles.

Aristotle was right. It takes more than a little evidence. And we’re seeing it in abundance.

Subaru Outback: Up 133% in April.