April Sales: Bad News For Detroit, Good News For Toyota City

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

All results of April are in, and large parts of Detroit are unhappy. Sales of GM and Ford declined, the formerly torrid gains of Chrysler slowed down a bit. Reborn Toyota posted another double-digit gain and came within touching distance of outselling Ford, while Volkswagen continues its winning streak.

GM’s April sales dropped 8 percent, and Ford’s 5 percent, generally in line with analysts’ expectations. For Chrysler, analysts had expected a gain of 16 percent, Chrysler exceeded with 20 percent.

Toyota reports a 12 percent increase, following a 15 percent gain in March. Deliveries at Volkswagen show a 27 percent gain for the group.

For the first four months, sales of General Motors show no growth. In a growing market, this signals a further erosion of GM’s slipping market share.

Total sales rose 2 percent in April, the seasonally adjusted annual rate stands at 14.4 million, same as in March, and up from 13.1 million a year earlier.

AutomakerApril 2012April 2011Pct. chng.YTD 2012YTD 2011Pct. chng.


BMW Group
26,82525,2776%102,65090,32414% BMW division21,06218,80112%82,61171,41716% Mini5,7316,446–11%19,91118,7876% Rolls-Royce32307%1281207%


BMW Group
26,82525,2776%102,65090,32414%


Chrysler Group
141,165117,22520%539,216404,17533% Chrysler Division31,87920,37956%111,21763,17576% Dodge45,24844,3202%171,470146,29717% Dodge/Ram66,75363,5805%262,470222,38118% Fiat3,849882336%12,6991,382819% Jeep38,68432,38420%152,830117,23730% Ram21,50519,26012%91,00076,08420%


Chrysler Group
141,165117,22520%539,216404,17533%


Daimler AG
25,07019,62628%91,99576,89220% Maybach4333%161233% Mercedes-Benz24,30219,15627%88,95175,14618% Smart USA76446764%3,0281,73475%


Daimler AG
25,07019,62628%91,99576,89220%


Ford Motor Co.
179,658189,284–5%717,480684,7925% Ford division173,350182,048–5%690,336657,3015% Lincoln6,3087,236–13%27,14427,2430% Mercury–––%–248–100%


Ford Motor Co.
179,658189,284–5%717,480684,7925%


General Motors
213,387232,538–8%821,707825,0830% Buick15,44618,413–16%52,78263,152–16% Cadillac9,85113,127–25%40,81753,639–24% Chevrolet155,487169,794–8%603,621586,2993% GMC32,60331,2045%124,487121,9932%


General Motors
213,387232,538–8%821,707825,0830%


Honda
122,012124,799–2%442,177432,7772% Acura12,17511,6045%42,98042,9720% Honda Division109,837113,195–3%399,197389,8052%


Honda
122,012124,799–2%442,177432,7772%


Hyundai Group
109,814108,8281%411,447356,22116% Hyundai division62,26461,7541%225,837204,37411% Kia47,55047,0741%185,610151,84722%


Hyundai Group
109,814108,8281%411,447356,22116%


Jaguar Land Rover
4,3654,2313%18,35214,99922% Jaguar1,0731,249–14%4,4013,75017% Land Rover3,2922,98210%13,95111,24924%


Jaguar Land Rover
4,3654,2313%18,35214,99922%


Maserati
2322291%83470219%


Maserati
2322291%83470219%


Mazda
21,50620,6384%103,52985,19722%


Mazda
21,50620,6384%103,52985,19722%


Mitsubishi
5,2808,081–35%21,88728,248–23%


Mitsubishi
5,2808,081–35%21,88728,248–23%


Nissan
71,32971,5260%393,690356,88410% Infiniti7,1296,7615%33,34934,597–4% Nissan Division64,20064,765–1%360,341322,28712%


Nissan
71,32971,5260%393,690356,88410%


Porsche
3,4373,1728%10,59610,1794%


Porsche
3,4373,1728%10,59610,1794%


Saab Cars
–696–100%–2,765–100%


Saab Cars
–696–100%–2,765–100%


Subaru
26,31024,7626%106,87892,21916%


Subaru
26,31024,7626%106,87892,21916%


Suzuki
1,7742,132–17%8,3368,835–6%


Suzuki
1,7742,132–17%8,3368,835–6%


Toyota
178,044159,54012%665,327593,46412% Lexus17,55117,5760%66,64764,9323% Scion5,5035,710–4%20,67418,46912% Toyota division154,990136,25414%578,006510,06313% Toyota/Scion160,493141,96413%598,680528,53213%


Toyota
178,044159,54012%665,327593,46412%


Volkswagen
49,24938,67927%173,542131,42132% Audi11,52110,01815%40,99135,40116% Bentley20311971%65343949% VW division37,52528,54232%131,89895,58138%


Volkswagen
49,24938,67927%173,542131,42132%


Volvo Cars NA
4,8486,404–24%21,26521,844–3%


Volvo Cars NA
4,8486,404–24%21,26521,844–3%Other (estimate)2622562%1,0481,0213%TOTAL1,184,5671,157,9232%4,651,9564,218,04210%

Table courtesy Automotive News [sub]

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Gregg Gregg on May 02, 2012

    Ford and GM sales did not actually decrease. You need to look at the daily sales rate. April 2011 had 27 sales days, and April 2012 had only 24. Usually, there is only a one day difference at most. Looking at it this way, both GM and Ford saw sales increases, and Chrysler saw a huge jump.

  • Raph Raph on May 03, 2012

    America's patriotic love affiar with domestics over? The cynic in me suggests yes. Can't wait to read all those posts on Autoblog wishing the domestic auto industry would implode so completely not even dust would be left. Anyways hopefully the trend doesn't continue (altough GM getting rid of some R&D folk doesn't bode well to me - even if it was just a smattering of people - couldn't they have gotten rid of some bean counters and repurposed the R&D guys into finance? As I read some comments engineers make great financial guys).

  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂
  • VoGhost Matt, I'm curious why you write that inventory levels are low at 74 days. Typically, 60 days is the benchmark for normal inventory.
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