Chrysler Group LLC posted an 11-percent year-on-year hike in vehicle sales in the United States to 156,698 vehicles in April 2013, boosted by strong demand for Ram pickup trucks. The carmaker’s figures surpassed analysts' expectations and were in line with projections for an 11-percent sales increase across the industry.
The rise would mean a continuation of the moderate recovery for the vehicle industry since its drop in 2009 to the lowest sales, adjusted for population. Other major carmakers were due to report their US April sales on Wednesday. Chrysler saw a 49-percent increase in sales for its pickup trucks, including the Ram 1500, and a 27-percent surge in sales for the Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle.
Earlier this week, Chrysler said its first-quarter earnings dropped 65 percent year-on-year, partly due to production delays for the Grand Cherokee prior to April. The US auto industry's annualized selling rate for April 2013 is seen to reach 15.25 million light vehicles – including cars and most pickup trunks -- according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Chrysler expects the U.S. auto industry to have annualized sales of around 15.4 million vehicles for April 2013, including medium and heavy trucks. The larger trucks, which account for 300,000 sales a year, are not included in industry figures for light vehicles.
Strong performance of Ram and the Grand Cherokee supports analysts' forecasts that a stronger housing market and lower gasoline prices boosted sales of pickup trucks and SUVs in April 2012. US consumer confidence in the United States also rose in April, according to industry group The Conference Board.