Sales of U.S.-built vehicles up 14.8%

April 15, 1993|By New York Times News Service

DETROIT -- Sales of domestically built vehicles, excluding those built by Ford Motor Co., rose 14.8 percent in early April from the corresponding period a year ago.

In a deviation from its pattern of reporting on the same day as other auto makers, Ford said it would release its 10-day sales figures today. Chrysler Corp. does not provide partial monthly figures; its sales are estimated by Ward's Automotive Reports.

Some analysts cautioned that the picture could be slightly better or slightly worse once hard data from Ford and Chrysler were available.

"We thought that sales in March were mostly because of bad weather, but these numbers would suggest that demand is only so-so," said Harvey Heinbach, an automotive analyst for Merrill Lynch in New York.

Sales of domestically built cars and trucks from April 1 to April 10 were 197,715, compared with 172,208 last year. Sales of cars were up 6.3 percent, to 115,867; sales of light trucks rose 29.6 percent, to 81,848.

General Motors Corp., the nation's No. 1 producer, posted a slight decline of eight-tenths of 1 percent in sales of domestically built cars, to 71,751.

But sales of GM's domestically built light trucks, which include minivans, sport-utility vehicles and pickups, rose 25.3 percent, to 44,279. Sales of Chevrolet, Buick and Saturn cars were stronger, while sales of S-10 compact and C/K full-size pickups paced light-truck sales.

Ward's estimated that Chrysler's car sales were 19,335, up 32.4 percent, and that its light-truck sales were 31,500, up 28.8 percent.

Honda Motor Co. had a 15.5 percent decline in sales of cars built in North America, to 8,838.

Toyota Motor Corp. posted a 39.2 percent increase in car sales, to 8,708, reflecting the popularity of its Camry and Corolla models. Light-truck sales quadrupled, to 2,264.

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