Ford, General Motors and Chrysler on Wednesday reported U.S. sales increases for April, building on their first sweep of market share gains in the first quarter of any year in two decades.
Ford sales of cars and light trucks rose 18 percent and GM and Chrysler deliveries both increased 11 percent, according to company statements. The average estimates of 11 analysts in a survey by Bloomberg were for gains of 17 percent by Ford and 10 percent by GM and Fiat SpA-controlled Chrysler.
For the first time since 1993, Ford, GM and Chrysler all gained U.S. market share in a first quarter.
Toyota and Nissan, which reported April sales that trailed analysts’ estimates, might test the resilience of U.S. automakers’ advances as they join Japan’s Honda in benefiting from a weakening yen in foreign currency exchange.
“Detroit should celebrate while they can because the race is tight,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst for auto researcher Edmunds.com. “The Japanese have a yen advantage right now, and we could start seeing them use that in pricing and in extra marketing.”
U.S. light-vehicle sales probably climbed 11 percent in April to 1.31 million, the average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The annualized industry sales rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, may have risen to 15.2 million, the average of 17 estimates, from 14.1 million a year earlier. That would keep the market on pace for its best year since 2007.
Toyota sales slipped 1.1 percent and Nissan’s rose 23 percent, the companies said in emailed statements that didn’t give results by model. Both fell short of the average estimates of eight analysts, which were for increases of 3.1 percent for Toyota and 26 percent for Nissan.
GM forecast a 15 million industry sales pace for April in a statement. Chrysler predicted a 15.4 million industry sales pace for the month, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which typically account for at least 200,000 deliveries per year.
Deliveries rose 24 percent in April for Ford’s F-Series pickups and its Fusion sedan, while sales of its Escape compact SUV surged 52 percent, the company said.
GM, which is introducing redesigned Chevrolet Silverado pickups this quarter, said sales of the outgoing version of the truck climbed 28 percent to 39,395 in April.
Deliveries for Chrysler, the third-largest U.S. automaker, have increased 37 consecutive months, the longest stretch in the company’s records that date to 1985. Chrysler said earlier this week that first-quarter net income slid 65 percent in part because introducing the new Ram Heavy Duty truck and Jeep Grand Cherokee and Compass SUVs raised costs and reduced output.