(RTTNews.com) - General Motors Co. ( GM ), Chrysler Group LLC and Toyota Motor Corp. ( TM ) on Thursday reported higher U.S. vehicle sales for the month of April amid further improvement in weather conditions as well as the country's economy. However, Ford Motor Co. ( F ) reported a slight drop in sales for the month, hurt by weak car sales.
GM, the largest U.S. automaker, said that its April U.S. sales rose 6.9% to 254,076 vehicles from 237,646 vehicles in the same month last year.
There were 26 selling days for April 2014, compared to 25 for last year.
Retail sales for the month were up 8%, while fleet sales were up 5%.
Among GM's four brands, Chevrolet sales rose 5.3% to 181,648 units, GMC sales surged 13% to 39,314 units, Cardillac sales grew 5.1% to 13,900 units, while Buick sales increased 12% to 19,214 units.
"Retail demand was steady in April, and truck sales and transaction prices were especially strong," said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations. "As we expected, the economy continues to strengthen. In addition, our award-winning new products are performing well, we have more on the way and our dealers are winning accolades for outstanding service."
GM has announced a series of recalls recently, prompting the automaker to order an internal investigation into the matter. Earlier this month, CEO Mary Barra testified before a U.S. House committee regarding the ignition switch recalls. The recalls had a telling effect on the automaker's first quarter profit that plunged 82% from last year, mainly hurt by the hefty recall-related charge.
Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford said it sold 211,126 vehicles in the U.S. in April, down 0.7% from 212,584 vehicles sold in the same month last year. For March, Ford had reported a 3.4% rise in U.S. vehicles sales.
Ford's car sales dropped 9.1% year-over-year to 71,357 units in April, while truck sales for the month rose 8% to 80,970 units and utility vehicle sales fell 0.5% to 58,799 units.
Sales of Ford's F-Series truck, America's best-selling truck for 37 straight years and the country's best-selling vehicle for 32 consecutive years, rose 7.4% to 63,387 units, marking its best April U.S. sales since 2006.
Ford was less ravaged by the recession than most of its peers. The company also did not have to restructure with federal assistance. The automaker has reported a profit for each of its last nineteen quarters. The company has also reinstated its quarterly stock dividend.
Earlier Thursday, Ford said its president and chief executive officer Alan Mulally has decided to retire from the company on July 1. He will be succeeded by Mark Fields, the company's chief operating officer since December 2012.
Chrysler Group LLC, which is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Italian automaker Fiat S.p.A. (FIATY), said its U.S. vehicle sales for April rose 14% to 178,652 units from 156,698 units in April last year. This marks the 48th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains for Chrysler.
Total car sales for the month dropped 26% year-over-year to 38,697 units, but total truck sales jumped 34% to 139,955 units.
Chrysler, which was once part of German automotive company Daimler AG, emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization in June 2009 and was bought by Italian automaker Fiat in a U.S. government-brokered deal. Fiat completed the 100% acquisition on January 21, 2014.
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., a unit of Japan'sToyota Motor Corp. ( TM ), said its April sales rose 13.3% to 199,660 vehicles from 176,160 vehicles in the same month last year.
Toyota division sales rose 11.7% to 176,495 units, while Lexus division sales surged 28% to 23,165 units.
"Sales momentum from March rolled into April pushing the industry to its best back-to-back monthly sales pace since fall of 2007," said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager.
Among other automakers reporting U.S. sales Thursday, Nissan North America Inc., a unit of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NSANY.PK), said its April sales rose 18.3% to 103,934 vehicles from 87,847 vehicles in the same month last year. Nissan division sales were up 16.7%. Nissan division sales rose 18.5% to 94,764 units, while Infiniti sales increased 16.9% to 9,170 units.
GM shares are currently trading at $34.97, up 49 cents or 1.42%, while Ford shares are currently trading at $15.99, down 15 cents.
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