Jeep Renegade, Nissan Murano, Ford Edge Lead Strong April SUV Sales

DETROIT — Crossovers and SUVs were showroom favorites in April, with shoppers snapping up the Jeep Renegade, Nissan Murano, Chevrolet Equinox and Ford Edge.

"As the U.S. continues its love affair with utility vehicles, April is likely to be the 20th straight month in which light trucks outsell cars," said Jessica Caldwell, an senior analyst.

Automakers, including GM, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, Toyota and Nissan, crowed about strong sales of SUVs and crossovers. GM noted that April was its best-ever month for crossover sales.

"Light truck sales have carried the auto industry to its best start in 15 years," said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, in the automaker's preliminary report. "The demand for crossover SUVs is off the charts and both the RAV4 and Highlander set April records."

Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers in the U.S. delivered 269,056 vehicles in April, up 6 percent year over year.

"Consumer and commercial customer demand for pickups and utility vehicles has been building since last fall," said Kurt McNeil, GM's U.S. vice president of sales operations, in a statement. "The auto industry continues to be on track to have its best sales year since 2006."

Chevrolet crossover deliveries were up 51 percent. The Chevrolet Equinox was up 42 percent for its best April ever.

The same theme was repeated at Nissan.

"Nissan's new Rogue and Murano crossovers couldn't have launched at a better time," said Fred Diaz, senior vice president of Nissan's U.S. sales & marketing and operations, in a statement.

Nissan Group, including Infiniti, set an April record with sales of 109,848, an increase of 5.7 percent over the previous April. Sales of the Murano increased 73 percent, while Rogue sales were up 44 percent.

Fiat-Chrysler reported U.S. sales of 189,027 vehicles, a 6 percent increase compared with sales in April 2014, powered by Jeep SUV sales.

"Our all-new Jeep Renegade small SUV is off to an exceptional start with more than 4,200 units sold in its first full month in the market, helping to propel our Jeep brand to its best monthly sales ever," said Reid Bigland, Fiat-Chrysler head of U.S. sales, in a statement.

The 2015 Jeep Cherokee had its best monthly sales ever last month, with a 27 percent increase.

"With more small SUVs in its lineup than any other brand, Jeep certainly has products that match consumer demand at the moment," Caldwell said.

Ford-brand SUVs turned in an all-time April sales record, the automaker reported.

"Our SUVs are in particularly high demand, and the new F-150 is off to an outstanding start," said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a statement.

Sales of the 2015 Ford Edge were up 78 percent. The Edge is now turning on Ford dealer lots in just 10 days, Ford said.

Ford reported a 5 percent increase in total U.S. sales in April with 222,498 vehicles sold.

Luxury automakers also basked in the glow of strong SUV sales.

April represented strong demand for Audi luxury SUVs, with a 35.6 percent increase in sales encompassing the Audi Q3, Q5 and Q7 models, the automaker said.

Car shoppers did not turn away entirely from small cars.

Hyundai Motor America said it was the "best April ever for Elantra and Genesis sedan," in a tweet.

Overall, Hyundai's April sales were up 2.9 percent with 68,009 vehicles sold.

Edmunds says: SUVs and crossovers will continue to dominate shopping lists with gas prices low and credit easier to obtain for most consumers.

Featured Content