Led by gains at Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and Ford, U.S. light-vehicle sales increased 3.5 percent to 1.506 million in April, a record for the month.
After a lackluster March that disappointed some automakers, April produced solid gains across the industry, with fatter deals and light trucks driving volume higher.
The seasonally adjusted sales rate came in at 17.42 million, slightly below the 17.5 million forecast by analysts, but up sharply from the March sales pace of 16.56 million and 16.77 million in April 2015.
“Consumer preference for SUVs and pickup trucks continued unabated in April,” said Reid Bigland, FCA’s senior vice president for North America sales.
Honda Motor Co. said sales surged 14 percent -- an April record for the company -- including a 15 percent boost in its namesake brand to go with a 9 percent increase at the Acura brand.
Nissan Motor Co. soared 13 percent for its third double-digit gain of 2016. FCA US stretched its streak of monthly gains into a seventh year with a 5.6 percent increase. Ford Motor Co. rode its F-series pickups and Explorer to a 3.6 percent gain.
Toyota Motor Corp. said overall sales notched a 3.8 percent gain, with namesake brand sales rising 3.7 percent. Lexus sales declined 3.8 percent. Scion sales rose 54 percent.
General Motors recorded its biggest decline -- 3.5 percent -- in more than two years. Each GM brand fell as the automaker continued to emphasize deliveries to individual customers and dial back on less-profitable sales to rental fleets. Retail sales rose 4 percent.
FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands continued to be a source of strength, up 18 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Demand fell 18 percent at the Chrysler brand, 3 percent at Dodge and 19 percent at Fiat.
Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. sales have now advanced 73 consecutive months.
FCA also continues to benefit from some of the highest discounts in the U.S. market. TrueCar estimates FCA’s average incentive rose 25 percent to $3,967 per vehicle last month from April 2015.