By TOM KRISHER
AP Auto Writer
DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Nissan all reported U.S. sales gains last month as Americans continued to choose small and midsize SUVs and pickup trucks over cars.
Several of the companies reported their best April sales in years, led by the SUVs. The sales were mostly in line with industry analysts’ expectations for about a 6 percent overall increase. All automakers were scheduled to report sales on Friday.
General Motors, the top-selling automaker in the U.S., posted a 5.9 percent increase led by small and midsize SUVs. The Detroit company says it sold just over 269,000 cars and trucks last month.
The automaker was led by the Chevrolet Equinox midsize SUV with sales up 42 percent to nearly 29,000. Sales of the Buick Encore small SUV rose 29 percent to nearly 5,600. GM’s top-seller, the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, posted nearly an 8 percent sales gain to almost 46,000.
Fiat Chrysler U.S. sales rose about 6 percent, led by Jeep brand small and midsize SUVs. Fiat Chrysler said it sold just over 189,000 cars and trucks for its best April since 2007. The Jeep brand posted its best monthly sales at nearly 72,000, up 20 percent from a year ago.
The Cherokee compact SUV led the way with a 27 percent increase to just over 19,000, while the brand sold more than 4,200 new Renegade subcompact SUVs in their first full month at dealerships. Sales of the Ram pickup, Fiat Chrysler’s top-selling vehicle, rose only 3 percent to just under 38,000, but that was still the best April ever for the trucks.
Ford Motor Co. posted a 5 percent gain for its best April in nine years. The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker sold more than 222,000 cars and trucks last month, led by small and midsize SUVs.
The revamped Ford Edge midsize SUV posted its best April sales ever at just over 13,000, up 78 percent from a year ago. Ford Escape small SUV sales were up nearly 5 percent to almost 26,000.
Sales of the F-Series pickup, Ford’s top-selling vehicle, fell 1 percent as the company continued to ramp up production of a new model with an aluminum body.
At Nissan, sales were up 5.7 percent to nearly 110,000. The company said its small and midsize SUVs set an April record, led by the Nissan Rogue with an increase of 45 percent.