April Lousy for Car Companies

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April was such a lousy auto sales month that even Toyota Motor Corp. reported a decrease from the same month last year.

General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. also reported decreases, and DaimlerChrysler AG had a small increase, but the negative Toyota numbers are counter to a long trend of rising sales, sometimes in double digits.

Toyota sales, which include the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands, dropped 4.4 percent in April, from 219,965 in April of 2006 to 210,457 last month, the company said Tuesday.

The Japanese automaker has seen double-digit increases in recent months and it seemed like the rising sales would never end. In March, for example, the company's sales jumped 11.7 percent.

Ford Motor Co., meanwhile, on Tuesday reported dismal U.S. sales in April, 12.9 percent below the same month last year due largely to slumping car sales,

General Motors Corp. sales also were poor, down 9.5 percent from April of last year, while DaimlerChrysler AG sales were up 1.2 percent.

GM sold 307,554 light vehicles in April, down from 339,796 in the same month last year. Its car sales were down 10 percent, while truck sales were off 9 percent.

Ford sold a total of 227,619 light vehicles last month, down from the 261,381 the company sold in April 2006. Car sales were off 23.6 percent, while truck sales were down 5.7 percent, the company said.

DaimlerChrysler's overall sales increased from 211,365 to 213,999, due to an increase at its Chrysler Group. Chrysler sales rose by 1.6 percent from 190,095 in April of last year to 193,104 last month. Mercedes sales were down 1.8 percent, from 21,270 to 20,895.

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