April is shaping up as a month of feast or famine for automakers. Early reporters Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus set sales records, while Nissan's slump continued.
Chrysler Corp., the only one of the Big 3 to report last week, showed impressive truck sales, with Dodge having its best-ever month for trucks. Chrysler Corp. sport-utilities soared 31 percent, and minivans were up 9 percent.
But the automaker's car sales were off 9 percent.
Honda Division posted its best April ever, with Accord sales surging 25.9 percent to 34,541 units, as well as monthly records for the Civic and the CR-V. But Acura Division is still off year-to-date.
Toyota Division was helped by strong Corolla sales, but the Camry is still selling slower than in 1997. The new RX 300 sport-utility and GS sedans spurred Lexus to a record sales month.
Mercedes-Benz's new M-class sport-utility and CLK coupe helped boost sales, but another major contributor was the aging C class, which was up 37.2 percent. The volume leading E class surged 5.8 percent.
Nissan Division continued its disappointing streak, with sales off 26.4 percent and declines in all vehicle lines. Altima sales had increased month-over-month since January, but turned back down in April. The new Frontier continues its slow pace, off 43 percent.
Declining inventories of the outgoing Galant knocked Mitsubishi's overall sales down 12 percent.