April 2015 Auto Sales: Winners and Losers

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

April showers bring May flowers, or so the old adage goes. Blossoms may not be popping everywhere right now but new-vehicle sales in the U.S. last month grew like a freshly planted petunia.

Overall deliveries exceeded 1.4 million, with many automakers posting solid increases. Compared to April of last year sales were up by more than 5 percent.

Year to date, dealers have pushed out just shy of 5 million vehicles, which is nearly 6 percent more than they sold during the same time period last year. Looking at the growth that’s consistently being posted by this industry the “Great Recession” is finally in the rear-view mirror for many people.

SEE ALSO: March 2015 Auto Sales

Naturally, some automakers did much better than others. Accordingly, here’s a list of winners and losers in the monthly sales race.

Winner: GMC +20 percent

GM’s truck and SUV division is proof positive that Americans love these versatile vehicles. GMC’s sales were up a rock-solid 20 percent in April compared to the same month in 2014 with deliveries exceeding 47,000. For the year sales are up more than 16 percent, topping 167,000 units.

Winner: Jeep +20.1 percent

Jeep is on fire and it’s a blaze that cannot be extinguished. It seems like this FCA division posts huge gains every single month. Deliveries in April were up 20.1 percent, landing just shy of 72,000. Year to date more than a quarter million Jeeps have been sold in the U.S.

Winner: MINI +24.7 percent

MINI is always small in overall volume but that doesn’t prevent this brand from posting large percentage gains. April sales hit nearly 5,500 units, a performance that’s strong enough to net this BMW division a 24.7 percent increase compared to the same month last year. So far in 2015 their dealers have moved some 18,000 cars, a year-over-year increase of 40 percent.

Winner: Mitsubishi +25.6 percent

The triple-diamond brand’s April sales topped 8,200 units, a performance that netted them a 25.6 percent year-over-year increase. Slowly but surely this brand appears to be clawing its way back from the brink, though without competent sedans one has to question how long this can last. Mitsubishi’s deliveries for the year are up more than 21 percent at a whisker more than 32,000 vehicles.

Winner: Chrysler +26.1 percent

The Pentastar brand topped Jeep in sales growth last month. Let that soak in for a moment … If you can believe it, Chrysler’s deliveries swelled by more than 26 percent in April, totaling nearly 28,000 units. That performance made it the fastest-growing brand in the automotive business. It’s also doing extremely well for the year. Sales are up more than 16 percent during the first four months of 2015, exceeding 109,000 vehicles.

Loser: Buick -5.2

That’s not a Buick! Yeah, it is, and unfortunately for the tri-shield division its sales fell by more than 5 percent last month compared to April 2014. Overall deliveries topped 18,000. Things aren’t any better when you look at this brand’s sales for the year. They’re down nearly 5 percent compared to the same time period in 2014 at just shy of 69,000 vehicles.

Loser: Fiat -12.6 percent

Funkiness may not appeal to many new-car buyers these days. Case in point: the Fiat brand. Its sales were off more than 12 percent last month, falling to about 3,700 units. For the first four months of 2015 the company’s “studios” (those are dealerships to you and me) have sold just shy of 15,000 cars, a performance that’s off by nearly 6 percent compared to the same time period last year.

Loser: Dodge -16 percent

Despite its awe-inspiring Hellcat monsters the Dodge division’s deliveries fell by 16 percent last month compared to April 2014. Apparently copious amounts of horsepower aren’t enough to keep buyers interested. Dealers sold a hair fewer than 45,000 units last month and a touch more than 168,000 for the year.

Loser: Scion -20 percent

SciON’s sales were OFF by a whopping 20 percent last month. Mitsubishi is an easy target to lampoon but this Toyota division may be in deeper trouble than is immediately obvious. Total sales last month only hit 4,300. Regrettably thing’s aren’t much better for the rest of 2015. Overall deliveries have exceeded 16,000 units, which represents a 17.9 percent slide compared to the same time frame in 2014.

Loser: smart -54.2 percent

Oh, smart. You can’t get your totally redesigned city car to market soon enough. Year-over-year sales last month were down by more than 54 percent, clocking in at just 480. So far in 2015 dealers have moved 2,013 cars, nearly 39 percent fewer than during the same period last year. For a little perspective, Maserati sold more than twice as many cars in April than smart. April 2015 Auto Sales: Winners and Losers

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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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