Sales of the Fiesta subcompact dropped 44 percent. Besides losing sales to the Focus, the Fiesta is facing new competition from the Chevrolet Sonic and Prius C.
Sales of the small SUV Escape dropped 20 percent as the company clears out old models to make room for a new version which goes on sale later this spring.
Ford also is hurting from the decision to discontinue the Ranger small pickup. Ranger sales dropped 63 percent from last April, and the truck will soon be gone from dealers’ lots. Ford will be able to move some of those buyers into its larger F-Series trucks, but some may go to other brands.
GENERAL MOTORS STUMBLES
Buick, Cadillac and Chevy sales were down. Only GMC had an increase, and it was small at 4.5 percent.
GM said sales to rental car companies dropped 25 percent for the month. Retail sales to individual buyers were flat. Sales of the Cruze, a big seller since it was introduced in 2010, fell almost 30 percent last month. Lower sales to rent car companies hurt the model, but analysts also noted that Toyota and Honda have full supplies of competing cars such as Civic and Corolla.
The company ended April with enough vehicles in inventory to supply dealers for 79 days. That’s more than the 60 days considered optimal. The company had 121-day supply of big pickup trucks, down slightly from March. GM is building up pickup inventory as it prepares to close factories and equip them to make an all-new pickup due out in 2013.
CHRYSLER KEEPS ROLLING
The company’s top-selling Ram pickup saw sales jump 19 percent last month. Chrysler also was helped at the smaller end of the lineup. It sold more than 3,800 Fiat 500 mini-cars, four times the sales from a year earlier.
The company is forecasting an annual selling rate of 14.6 million cars and trucks, on the high end of analyst predictions.
At the end of April, Chrysler had enough cars and trucks to supply its dealers for 59 days. That’s just below what’s considered optimal. And it’s far better than the Chrysler of old, which often had cars and trucks piled up on Detroit-area parking lots because dealers wouldn’t take them.
GAS PRICES EASE