Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

April Auto Sales Show Toyota Revving Up Business

Toyota RAV4s
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As expected, Toyota is revving up sales and showing once again why the Japanese automaker is making good on a plan to win back sales “lost” last year.

In April, Toyota U.S. sales increased 11.4%, slightly above the estimate of an increase of 9.6%. While Toyota did not outsell Ford to recapture the #2 spot in U.S. auto sales, its improved sales are a sign the Japanese automaker is winning back sales after a tough year in 2011.

What’s behind Toyota’s stronger sales?

It’s due to a combination of having a more complete portfolio of cars and trucks while also offering greater incentives. estimates Toyota incentives increased 4.4% in April to just over $1,800 per vehicle, while the industry as a whole was down 4.7% for the month. Richer deals combined with full showrooms are giving Toyota dealers the kind of flexibility to win over buyers that they haven’t had in recent months.

As for the rest of the industry, April showed steady sales. The automakers are starting to face tougher comparisons with monthly sales from a year ago so the percentage gains (or in some cases, declines) will paint a picture of lackluster auto sales. Dealers say that’s not the case. Instead, they see a spring sales season with steady, solid demand.

Two other notable stories in April:

  • Chrysler continues to gain sales momentum. The 20% increase last month gave Chrysler its best April in 4 years.
  • Volkswagen boosted sales by a whopping 31.5%. Admittedly, this is coming off of a smaller base than VW competitors. Still, the German automaker had its best April in the U.S. since 1971.

April Auto Sales

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