U.S. sales of new Toyota cars surged 11.6% in April

Kyodo

New car sales in the United States in April increased 2.3 percent from a year earlier, with Toyota Motor Corp. enjoying double-digit growth while two major U.S. automakers suffered drops, according to data released Tuesday by a U.S. research firm.

Toyota’s sales jumped 11.6 percent to 178,044 units, marking the sixth straight month of year-on-year increase and contributing largely to the continued growth of overall new car sales in the U.S. market, which totaled 1,184,447 units in the reporting month, according to Autodata Corp.

In contrast, Honda Motor Co. saw its sales decline 2.2 percent to 122,012 units, down for the second month in a row.

Toyota officials attributed the April increase to robust sales of hybrid vehicles such as its mainstay Prius model against the backdrop of higher gasoline prices.

Toyota remained in third place with a share of 15.0 percent, just behind General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., both of which saw their sales fall.

GM sold 213,387 units, down 8.2 percent, retaining the top position with a market share of 18.0 percent, while Ford’s sales decreased 5.1 percent to 179,658 units for a 15.2 percent share, remaining the second-biggest carmaker.

The other Detroit Three U.S. automaker, Chrysler Group LLC, saw its sales climb 18.0 percent to 137,316 units, staying in the No. 4 slot with an 11.6 percent share.

The combined sales of the three U.S. carmakers edged down 1.5 percent to 530,361 units for a combined market share of 44.8 percent, up from 43.7 percent in March.

Among other Japanese carmakers, Nissan Motor Co. sold 71,329 units, down 0.3 percent, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. 5,280 units, down 34.7 percent, and Suzuki Motor Corp. 1,774 units, down 16.8 percent.

In contrast, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., known for its Subaru brand, saw its sales increase 6.3 percent to 26,310 units, while Mazda Motor Corp.’s sales grew 4.2 percent to 21,506 units.