DETROIT — Car shoppers could not get enough of trucks and SUVs last month, snapping up such vehicles as the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck, Ford Explorer midsize SUV and Jeep Renegade compact SUV, according to impressive April car sales that appeared poised to beat Wall Street forecasts.
"The industry had its strongest April in more than 10 years, possibly a best-ever month," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager, in a statement.
Other winners in the April sales report included the Honda Odyssey minivan, Toyota RAV4 compact SUV and Nissan Murano crossover. Volkswagen Group of America also reported record sales of the Volkswagen Tiguan small SUV.
"Consumer preference for SUVs and pickup trucks continued unabated in April," said Reid Bigland, Fiat-Chrysler North America senior vice president of sales, in a comment that neatly summed up the monthly results.
Fiat-Chrysler reported U.S. sales of 199,631 units, a 6 percent increase compared with sales in April 2015, and the group's best April sales in 11 years.
The story was the same at crosstown rival Ford, which noted that Ford SUV sales totaled 65,474 vehicles last month — the best April in company history. Ford's U.S. sales increased 4 percent in April versus a year ago, with 231,316 vehicles sold.
"We saw strong consumer demand in April, especially for pickups," said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a statement. "F-Series has moved past the quarter million sales mark year to date — the strongest start for F-Series in a decade, while Ford brand SUVs are having their best year ever."
American Honda Motor Co. reported an April sales increase of 14 percent, with record light-truck sales driven by the Odyssey and Honda Pilot SUV.
"The strong cadence of new Honda cars and light trucks coming to market is clearly resonating with customers," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division, in a statement. "With the all-new Ridgeline truck coming to market this summer, we will add another segment to our lineup and further accelerate our strong sales momentum in 2016."
Nissan Group turned in a double-digit gain of 13 percent in April, compared to a year ago. Nissan said its crossovers, trucks and SUVs jumped 10 percent, setting a record for the month.
Seven Fiat-Chrysler U.S. vehicles set records in the month of April, including the Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass, each posting their best monthly sales ever.
Toyota was up 4 percent in April, compared to a year ago, with highlights including strong sales of the Toyota Camry, Corolla and record truck sales. The Japanese automaker reported record April sales for the Toyota RAV4, Toyota Highlander and Toyota 4Runner.
General Motors was down 4 percent overall. Truck sales were up 19 percent, with the Colorado up 55 percent, Chevrolet Silverado up 14 percent, Chevrolet Suburban up 16 percent and Chevrolet Tahoe up 8 percent.
"Our momentum in the car business is accelerating with each new model introduction," said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations.
Edmunds says: With this glowing report in the books, car dealers are ready for the hot summer selling season.