April New Car Sales on Track for Best Month Since 2008 (F, GM, TM, HMC, NSANY)

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Auto industry research firm truecar.com released its sales and incentives forecast for April today, and the company expects the sales forecast to translate to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of new car sales of 14.6 million in the US during 2012. That’s up from a rate of 14.4 million in March and 13.2 in April 2011.

Total sales of cars and light trucks are expected to reach 1.196 million vehicles, 3.4% higher than in April 2011. Truecar.com does not provide a comparison with the adjusted rate for April, but does show that March’s unadjusted sales were 14.8% higher than April’s adjusted rate. For what that’s worth.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), and Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) lead the market share forecast for April with, 17.5%, 15.2%, and 15.3%, respectively. Chrysler gets 11.5% share, followed by Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) with a 9.6% share, Hyundai/Kia with a 9.4% share, and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (OTC: NSANY.PK) with a 7.3% share. Volkswagen AG rounds out the top eight with a 3.6% share.

Industry-wide incentive spending has fallen by -4.7% month-over-month, but risen 5.6% year-over-year. The largest year-over-year incentive increases came from Nissan and Volkswagen, while Hyundai/Kia and Toyota are the only two makers to show lower incentives this year.

It appears that Toyota has completely overcome the marketing and public relations disaster it suffered a couple of years ago and the shortages caused by last year’s earthquake and tsunami. The other noteworthy item is Chrysler’s market share growth year-over-year, from 10.1% to 11.5%. Ford, GM, and Honda all lost share over the period, and only Toyota’s share gain was larger than Chrysler’s.

The truecar.com data is available here.

Paul Ausick