Big Three April sales slumped
Detroit automakers under pressure last month; Ford sees big drop in SUV, pickup sales; Toyota, Honda gain.

NEW YORK ( - Sales at Detroit's Big Three automakers tumbled in April while Japanese automakers gained, the companies said Tuesday.

GM (up $0.56 to $23.20, Research) said sales slipped 10.7 percent on an unadjusted basis for the month of April to 339,796 new cars and trucks from a year earlier. GM releases its sales figures adjusted for the daily sales rate. Because of one less sales day in April 2006, it reported only a 7.3 percent decline in sales.

Autos on the brain
Keeping fuel economy in mind early can make a big difference. (more)
Industry officials say that the President will discuss pension and energy issues with heads of U.S. auto makers. (more)
Cruise control? How very 90s. These cars can brake -- even park -- themselves. (more)

Ford (up $0.02 to $6.93, Research), the No. 2 automaker, said overall sales slipped 7 percent to 262,722 compared to last year, while DaimlerChrysler (down $0.35 to $54.25, Research) reported total U.S. sales sank 6 percent to 211,365 passenger vehicles for April 2006.

Sales at the automaker's key North American unit Chrysler Group, which includes the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands, fell 8 percent.

Ford's and Chrysler's results do not take into account that there was one less selling day during the month of April this year.

While Detroit automakers suffered, Japanese automakers did well.

Toyota reported an 8.5 percent jump, while Honda (up $1.29 to $36.98, Research) said its sales climbed 6.5 percent.

Auto sales tracker had anticipated on an unadjusted basis GM's April sales would sink 10 percent, Ford's sales would fall 8 percent while Chrysler would dip by 3 percent.

GM said total passenger car sales were down 18 percent, and truck sales were up 2 percent, helped by sales of the GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.

"Given that the industry came in somewhat below our initial expectations, we are pleased that our retail sales were in line with the targets established in our North America turnaround plan," Mark LaNeve, General Motors North America vice president of vehicle sales, said in a statement.

Ford (up $0.02 to $6.93, Research) said its passenger car sales climbed 8 percent last month, boosted by strength in mid-sized vehicles like the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan.

"These new, fuel-efficient cars are helping our dealers to retain owners and capture new ones," Al Giombetti, president of marketing and sales for Ford and Lincoln Mercury, said in a statement.

But the automaker blamed a 15 percent decline in light truck sales, which include SUVs, pick-up trucks and minivans, for the dip in total sales.

Ford said sales of its Ford Explorer tumbled 42 percent from a year earlier, while its F Series pickup truck, the nation's best-selling vehicle, slipped 9.3 percent.

Rising gasoline prices have dragged on U.S. automakers' SUV sales as consumers have sought more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Subaru and BMW both boasted solid increases in U.S. sales.


Ford plans to cut prices on its '07 models -- click here.

For more news on autos and automakers, click hereTop of page

Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.
Manage alerts | What is this?