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Published: Monday, 5/3/2010

GM's April sales rise 6.4%

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT — General Motors Co.'s sales rose 6.4 percent in April as the auto industry continued to see signs of recovery, although the pace slowed from incentive-fueled March.

GM said Monday that sales from its four remaining brands — Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac — rose 20 percent. GM is phasing out or selling Saab, Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer. Sales fell 2.4 percent from March.

GM saw strong sales of several new products, including the Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Equinox, Buick LaCrosse and GMC Terrain. Truck sales also rose 20 percent, an indicator that the construction business is in recovery.

Auto sales were expected to be higher than last April, when the industry was hurt by the economic downturn. But the industry may not be able to maintain the blistering pace of March, when big sales promotions led by Toyota Motor Corp. fueled higher sales across the industry.

Edmunds.com says incentives fell an average of 5 percent in April as the luster wore off some of the deals and automakers tried to pull back on spending. But there were still were good bargains. Honda Motor Co. spent a record $1,787 per vehicle, while Toyota spent $2,498, down $245 from record-high levels in March. GM spent $3,273 per vehicle, although that was skewed by high incentives on the brands it is discontinuing.

GM said it spent $100 less per vehicle in April than in March.

“We'll be judicious with our incentives,” said Steve Carlisle, GM's new vice president of sales. “We'll be competitive but not foolish.”

Carlisle said GM's performance is consistent with a slow and steady economic recovery. The automaker stuck with its forecast of total U.S. auto sales of 11.5 million to 12 million for the year.

That's better than last year's 10.4 million, but far below the peak of more than 17 million in 2000.



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