North American car and truck production for April was 4.5 percent higher than in 1997. Truck production rose 17.3 percent, and car production dropped 6.7 percent. The new Dodge Durango and Mercedes-Benz ML320 boosted the truck total. An extended changeover for the Pontiac Grand Am and late startups for the Chrysler LH cars were factors in the reduced car output.
For the year to date, North American car and truck production is up 2.2 percent from 1997. Trucks are up 9.3 percent; cars are down 4.4 percent.
The Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., will be idle on Fridays through September.
Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. already has surpassed its total 1997 production of the ML320 sport-utility. This year, 21,179 have been assembled at the plant in Vance, Ala.; 19,462 trucks were built in all of 1997.
North American production shares for April were: General Motors, 31.3 percent; Ford Motor Co., 25.9 percent; Chrysler Corp., 22.5 percent; Honda of America Manufacturing, 5.1 percent; Toyota Motor Manufacturing, 3.8 percent; Nissan Motor Manufacturing, 2.9 percent; New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., 2.1 percent; Volkswagen, 1.6 percent; Subaru-Isuzu Automotive Inc., 1.3 percent; and other manufacturers, 3.5 percent.