April's Car Sales: Winners and Losers

With the auto show season at an end, automakers have started to deliver new models and sales for April continue to break records. As summer is right around the corner, there is no doubt that the convertibles and sports cars will be in high demand in the months to come. This month continues with an upward curve, as sales continue to break records and certain automakers report best-ever sales. Thanks to the few extra sales days this month in comparison to last month, almost all manufacturers are in the green, with only a few remaining in the red. Read on to learn about the sales winners and losers for the month of April. It may surprise you to see which brands landed on each list.
Ram (+49 percent)

Starting off our list of the sales winners for the month of April is Ram, with a 49-percent increase over the same month last year. The brand celebrates its 36th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains, and also had its best April sales in the past six years. Each vehicle in the lineup seemed to have high sales gains, with the Ram Cargo Van setting a record for a 110 percent gain. The 1500 Laramie Longhorn has earned a spot on Ward's 10 Best Interiors for 2013, after a long evaluation of 46 other vehicles that have all-new or significantly upgraded interiors.

Cadillac (+34.3 percent)

Although the brand's monthly increase in sales wasn't as high as last month, Cadillac boasts an impressive 34.3-percent increase for the month of April. As the industry's fastest-growing brand in the first quarter of 2013, the brand continues to break records as its year-to-date sales increase to 37 percent. With plans for the new Cadillac CTS luxury sedan set to go on sale later this year, sales for the current model have dropped, but the ATS is picking up the slack and the SRX continues to lead the sales numbers for the brand, with the XTS coming in second.

Subaru (+25.2 percent)

Next up is Subaru with a sales increase of 25.2 percent, with sales from the all-new 2014 Forester helping the brand achieve such high numbers. The automaker has reported its best sales month in the history of the brand. Sales for the new Forester are expected to grow as the year goes on, and sales for the Outback have increased as well, giving it the No. 2 sales spot. Each model under the brand had strong sales, with only a few lower than April of last year. Sales for the XV Crosstrek were also strong and should continue to increase as the XV Crosstrek Hybrid is added to the lineup.

Nissan (+24.6 percent)

Almost on par with Subaru, Nissan makes our list with a sales increase of 24.6 percent. Sales were driven by the Altima, which had an increase of 35.4 percent, as well as the Pathfinder and Rogue, with increases of 214.7 percent and 39 percent, respectively. The Nissan Pathfinder set a new record for the month of April, making this month its sixth consecutive month of increased sales of a minimum of 145 percent. Sales of the automaker's electric vehicle, the Leaf continue to rise, jumping up 423.5 percent since the company's decision to start developing the vehicle at the facilities in Tennessee.

Lincoln (+20.7 percent)

This month, Lincoln has managed to increase its sales by 20.7 percent, giving it the final spot on our winners list for the month of April. For the first time in the history of the Lincoln MKZ, sales for the vehicle surpassed the 4,000-vehicle mark, giving it the best monthly sales performance ever with 4,012 units sold. The brand was also aided by the MKX, which came in second with total number of units sold. Total sales for the brand reached just over 7,600, helping it gain such a high increase in sales from April last year. LOSERS

Chrysler (-13 percent)

Starting off our list of the losers of the monthly sales is Chrysler, which posted a decrease of 13 percent. Although sales for the brand's Town & Country minivan increased by 4 percent, its other two models, the 200 and 300, had a significant decline in sales compared to a year earlier. Sales for the Chrysler 300 dropped almost 50 percent, bringing down the average. Chrysler needs to step up their model lineup if they plan to increase their sales numbers. Even with these numbers, the Chrysler Group managed to stay in the positive with an overall increase in sales of 11 percent.

Smart (-12.7 percent)

Sales for the Smart ForTwo have dropped by 12.7 percent, as the brand only managed to sell 667 units this month as opposed to the 764 units of April last year. With the surge of electric vehicles and other hybrids going on sale, it looks as if the Smart is struggling to keep up with its competitors. There are more spacious, comfortable, and fun-to-drive vehicles that are getting better fuel economy than the ForTwo, pushing it further to the backs of consumers' minds. Although it may be cheaper than many of its competitors, many are willing to pay that extra money just for an improved ride and less confined cabin.

Volkswagen (-10.3 percent)

Coming in third on April's list of sales losers is Volkswagen with a 10.3 decline in overall sales. Even though the Tiguan had its best year-to-date sales, it wasn't enough to stop the automaker from going in the red. Most models showed a decrease in sales when compared to April of last year, the most significant vehicles being the GTI with a decrease of 40.4 percent, the Golf R with a 57.7 percent decrease, and the Routan with a 99.7 percent decrease. However, the CC showed great growth, and is up 45.7 percent in monthly sales, followed by the Tiguan at 6.6 percent.

Volvo (-7.9 percent)

With a decline of 7.9 percent, Volvo comes in at number four, narrowly beating out Mazda for the best least worst sales month. As April sales are down compared to the same month last year, year-to-date sales have also taken a turn downhill with a decrease of 8 percent. The top seller for the brand was the S60 sports sedan, even though it was down 10.7 percent from last year. The XC60 and XC70 are some of the only vehicles that didn't see a decline in sales, with increases of 15.4 percent and 26.5 percent, respectively. As the only vehicle in the brand's lineup with an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award (and the only one tested so far), the XC60 managed to finish the month as the No. 2 seller for the automaker.

Mazda (-7.5 percent)

Rounding out both the losers and the list as a whole is Mazda, with a decrease of 7.5 percent, just .4 percent behind Volvo. Surprisingly, the CX-5 had an increase in sales by almost 78 percent, and only one other model managed to have an increase of sales for the month of April, the CX-9 with an increase of 11.9 percent. Even combined, the sales increases of both these vehicles were not enough to keep the automaker out of the red.  The all-new 2014 Mazda6 surpasses sales expectations; however, sales for the vehicle are still down 22.4 percent.