by Richard Russell
Even the most sincere optimist would be hard pressed to find good news in the April automotive sales numbers. Car sales were down 9% and trucks 9.5%. The April decline was sufficient to drag down year-to-date numbers by 5.1% and 7.6% respectively and industry sales in total by 6.2%.
Hardest-hit among the broad swath cut by a dismal month were domestic manufacturers and the biggest market segments. Domestic car sales were off 15% and truck sales 12% while imports enjoyed 3% and 10% increases. Minivans sales were off almost 15%, pickups 11% and compacts 5%. The extremes of the market enjoyed some positive developments, with the least and most expensive vehicles both recording increases. Sub-compact sales were up almost 16%, luxury SUVs 39% and luxury cars 3%.
Among manufacturers, Kia was the big winner in April, posting an increase of almost 14% over April 2003, while Ford posted the largest decline – 18.3%. Here’s the breakdown by manufacturer:
|Manufacturer||April||2004 to date|
Here’s a look at the top three sellers in each segment for the month
|Hyundai Santa Fe||1,179||36.9%|
|GM Suburban/Yukon XL||393||-24.1%|