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Sales of new vehicles in the US increased two per cent in April despite dealers having three fewer days to sell cars than in April 2011.

US dealers sold 1,184,567 new cars and SUVs last month, up 26,644 from the same month in the previous year. The result takes the US industry to 4.65 million sales for the year, up 10 per cent from the 4.22 million vehicles sold over the same period in 2011.

The world’s second largest new car market is now ranked an annualised rate of 14.4 million sales, up 1.3 million from the same time last year – further evidence of the resurgence of consumer confidence and the US automotive industry.

The country’s two largest manufacturers – General Motors and Ford – endured slow months, with sales down 8.2 per cent and 5.0 per cent respectively. GM sales fell 19,151 units to 213,387 compared with last year while Ford dipped 9428 units to 180,350.

Ford’s decline and an 11.6 per cent gain by Toyota saw the Japanese manufacturer fall just 2306 vehicles short of second place, closing the gap from more than 30,000 units in April 2011.

Chrysler was the big mover in April with sales rocketing 20.4 per cent to 141,165 vehicles. The group is now 33 per cent up on the same period in 2011, and has blitzed past Honda. After April 2011, Chrysler had sold 404,175 vehicles compared with Honda’s 432,777, and this year Chrysler has surged to 539,216 while Honda trails behind on 442,177.

The German manufacturing groups also enjoyed a strong month, with Daimler (owner of Mercedes-Benz) up 28 per cent, Volkswagen up 27 per cent and BMW rising a more modest six per cent.

Asian brands Hyundai and Nissan were steady in April, but both continue to see double-digit growth year-to-date.

The release of US statistics follows our report yesterday revealing preliminary data showing Mazda outsold Holden in Australia for the first time last month. Official statistics for Australian new car sales in April will be released at noon tomorrow.




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