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Sales of U.S. Cars, Trucks Pick Up Steam

April 15, 1993|From Associated Press

DETROIT — Sales of domestically built new cars and trucks rose an estimated 14.8% in early April, hinting that the vaunted spring selling season has arrived.

"It started off like a bang and it's been riding high and heavy," said Alan Helfman, general manager of River Oaks Chrysler Plymouth in Houston. "I'm selling all I can get a hold of. It's phenomenal and I just hope it keeps up."

The percentage increase, calculated for the April 1-10 period this year compared to the same period last year, does not include estimates on Ford Motor Co. sales. Ford said it will report its early April sales on Thursday.

Eight of 10 makers released their early April sales Wednesday. Chrysler Corp. reports its sales on a monthly basis, but the trade publication Ward's Automotive Reports provides estimates on the car maker's 10-day numbers.

The early April annualized sales rate for cars was 6.3 million, compared to 5.8 million in the same period last year. Light trucks, such as minivans, pickups and sport utility trucks, sold at an annualized rate of 4.5 million compared to 4 million last year.

The annualized rates assume Ford's car market share of 28.9% and truck market share of 29.5% as of March 31.

Even the most conservative auto analysts say the recovery has arrived for the beleaguered industry. Most predict a long, steady recovery lasting until the next peak in demand in 1996 or 1997.

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