CARS.COM — Modest growth was the theme in April as car shoppers sent new-car sales up 3.5 percent with the largest seven automakers reporting. Sales of sedans, coupes and hatchbacks continued to flounder as core SUV segments climbed. And minivan shoppers (yes, really) cranked segment sales up 36.6 percent.
Shoppers brought the Honda CR-V back into the top 10, while the Ford Fusion — No. 9 in March — fell off. The Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Altima had the best-selling group’s largest percentage increases; both nameplates have refreshed models on sale. Sales of the RAV4 soared 31.6 percent despite slightly lower cash rebates in April, according to trade journal Automotive News. RAV4 bucked the trend for non-luxury compact SUVs; sales of the segment were down 0.8 percent for the month.
The Altima’s 28.8 percent gain was the largest percentage increase among midsize family sedans, but it’s versus a weak year-ago month. The segment overall saw another cold shoulder from shoppers in the month, with sales down 4.5 percent. Compact cars fared similarly, down 4.9 percent.
A notable exception among the compact sedans was the redesigned Honda Civic, with sales up 24.5 compared to last April. And Civic was the best-selling vehicle that’s not a pickup truck for the first time since December 2012.
On the truck side, a less-than-banner March for new-home construction did little to blunt full-size pickup sales, which increased 9.7 percent in April — a percentage increase not seen since last July. Midsize pickups, meanwhile, gained 25.9 percent.
Perhaps the general tide of consumer strength helped both segments. Most other indicators pointed to a healthier car shopper (financially, anyway) in April. Unemployment remains low, and wages just charted a third consecutive quarter of solid growth, according to government figures. Markets have recovered from a turbulent winter, too. In short, consumers are collectively well-employed, getting paid more and seeing better returns on their investments.
Here are April’s top 10 best-selling cars: