Small SUVs Are Leading Spring Auto Sales

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This year's spring auto sales season is off to a good start, with new a Autodata Corp. report showing that nearly 1.4 million motor vehicles were sold in the U.S. during April. This represents an 8% increase in sales from the same period last year.

According to an Associated Press report, car manufacturers are hoping that these increased sales will last well beyond the spring. The Autodata Corp report predicts that vehicle sales will remain robust throughout the year and that total-year sales will increase year-over-year to around 16 million, up slightly from last year's 15.6 million U.S. vehicles sold.

Nissan was the big winner during April, with sales up 18.3% over April 2012 sales. Chrysler and Toyota also saw big sales boosts last month, with 14% and 13% sales increases, respectively.

“Sales momentum from March rolled into April pushing the industry to its best back-to-back monthly sales pace since fall of 2007,” said Bill Fay, VP and general manager at Toyota division group. “For Toyota, truck sales continue to soar. Tundra is a highlight with double-digit gains as comfort, safety and technology of the all-new model remain a strong draw for consumers.”

Other manufacturers did not fare as well during April. Ford vehicle sales were down slightly year-over-year and Volkswagen saw a full 8.4% drop in sales from last April.

The news comes just as Ford last week announced that CEO Alan Mullaly will be stepping down from company leadership in July. The company's "One Ford" business plan will stay in place, with the company evolving to focus more on SUVs and other popular vehicles.

The April sales numbers show that U.S. car buyers are looking for more crossover vehicles such as small SUVs. According to the AP report, small SUVs made up around 16% of all U.S. auto sales during April. This percentage is up 2% from April 2012.

The April sales boost is also encouraging for the motor vehicle industry as a whole, which has seen stagnant sales through the early months of the year. According to the AP report, January auto sales were down 3% from 2012 levels.

Image via Ford

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