April turned out to be a bad month for U.S. car sales, but some of the declines were less than expected.
Chrysler had total sales in April of 76,682 units, representing a 48 percent decrease versus 2008. Total April sales include a fleet reduction of 66 percent year-over-year for the same period, as the company says it continues to emphasize retail over fleet.
Car sales for Chrysler were 15,563 in April versus 39,564, a decline of 61 percent from 2008. Total truck sales were down down 44 percent to 61,119.
Despite the big declines, all the numbers were well above forecasts.
"The industry appears to have stabilized, as it's been fairly level for the past four months," said Jim Press, Vice Chairman and President, of Chrysler. " We know where the bottom is, and as the economy struggles to recover, vehicle sales should follow."
"Chrysler retail sales and share were well above expectations, which shows the real strength of our dealers and products in the marketplace in spite of a month filled with troubling headlines," said Press.
Press added, "This gives us reason for optimism as we begin working on our new alliance and restructuring plans."
Chrysler the third-largest car manufacturer in the United States, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday.
GM's sales in the U.S. for April were down 34 percent but beat the estimated sales decline of 36.8 percent. GM sold 173,007 vehicles versus 260,922 a year ago.
The numbers came in as the automaker said the Asia-Pacific operations of GM will stay within the company fold regardless of whether GM ends up declaring bankruptcy or not.
Nick Reilly, president of GM's Asia and Pacific business, told reporters, however, that those companies will need to be financially self-sufficient as they will be unable to access U.S. government funds.
Detroit-based GM, which has received billions of dollars in government financial support, is working on a restructuring plan and has until June 1 to avoid a possible bankruptcy filing.
And Ford posted a 31.6 percent decline in U.S. sales Friday for April as the economic downturn continued to pressure the industry.