Ford-Chrysler U.S. sales increases build on market share gains

April Forecast

Chrysler today forecast a 15.4 million industry sales pace for April, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which typically account for at least 200,000 deliveries per year. Deliveries surged 49% for Ram pickups to 31,409 and 27% for the Grand Cherokee to 15,003.

Nissan Motor Co. posted a 23% increase for April, according to an e-mailed statement. The Yokohama, Japan-based company missed eight analysts’ average estimate for a 26% surge.

Ford, GM and Chrysler gained 0.7, 0.5 and 0.2 percentage points of market share during the first quarter, the first time all three have gained ground in that period of a year since the height of the sport-utility vehicle boom, according to Automotive News Data Center, which conducted the analysis at the request of Bloomberg News.

GM, which is introducing redesigned Chevrolet Silverado pickups and Impala sedans this quarter, may report a 10% increase in U.S. sales for April, the average of 11 estimates.

U.S. automakers’ strides have been building in the past half-decade after a painful downturn spurred restructurings that spared only Ford from bankruptcy. The three companies rid themselves of uncompetitive cost structures and plowed investments into cars that could hang with Japan’s giants.

Fusion, Cadillac

The gains being made by U.S. automakers are widespread. Ford’s Fusion, which ranked outside the ten best-selling models last year, jumped to No. 6 this year through March. The 38% sales increase posted by Detroit-based GM’s Cadillac was the largest of any brand in the industry during that span, and Chrysler’s passenger-car deliveries surged almost a third.

Ford’s record $2.4 billion pretax profit in North America during the first quarter was powered by its industry-leading F- Series trucks, the new Fusion sedan and the redesigned Escape utility vehicle. Deliveries rose 24% in April for both the F-Series and Fusion, and sales of the Escape surged 52%.

Toyota, which is based in Toyota City, added 0.3 percentage points of U.S. market share through March, while Tokyo-based Honda’s share was little changed and Nissan lost 0.7 points, according to Autodata Corp.

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