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Chrysler halts sales slide at last
April sales rise steadies Chrysler Group as US market continues recovery
4 May 2010
AMERICA’S embattled Chrysler Group finally had reason to smile after a 25 per cent jump in United States sales in April.
While it was hardly the best-performed motor company on the market – Nissan sales increased 35 per cent year on year, for example – Chrysler at least outpaced the market which rose 20 per cent over the same month last year.
It was Chrysler’s best monthly sales improvement in almost five years and marked the end of a massive slide that began before the global financial crisis and resulted in chapter 11 bankruptcy and an embarrassing rescue by Italy’s Fiat SpA last year.
Chrysler Group’s 95,703 sales in April was not sufficient to lift it from fifth place, where it has languished this year behind market leader General Motors, second-placed Ford, Toyota and Honda.
Year to date, Chrysler has just edged into the black on sales, up just two per cent over the first four months of last year.
All major car companies except GM recorded double-digit growth over April last year when the sales were at their lowest ebb in the US recession.
Left: Hyundai Sonata (US).
GM’s April tally of 183,614 units was a seven per cent improvement over April 2009. But if the now-defunct Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab brands are excluded, the improvement was 20 per cent – in line with the market.
The industry total of 982,302 units equates to an annualised market of 11.5 million – just slightly behind the March rate of 11.7 million.
Nissan was the big winner in April, notching 63,769 Nissan and Infiniti sales, up 35 per cent, bettering its 32 per cent rise for the year to date.
No fewer than 11 Nissan nameplates enjoyed double-digit percentage rises in sales for the month.
Ford continues to gain against GM and outpace Toyota. The Blue Oval’s 162,996 April sales total was a 25 per cent lift on April 2009. Ford sales are up 34 per cent year to date, compared with GM’s 13 per cent rise and Toyota’s 12 per cent.
Another big mover in the US market, Hyundai, had a record April, up 30 per cent to 44,023 units, mainly on the back of a bumper month for its new Sonata (18,536 units, +57 per cent).
Of the smaller players, Subaru continues to impress, up 48 per cent April on April, to 23,198 units.
Suzuki, on the other hand, seems to be continuing its exit backwards out of the US market, down 23 per cent to a negligible 1950 sales. It will be depending on its new Kizashi mid-sized sedan to keep it viable.
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