Nissan and Ford led a strong month for the auto industry, with sales up 23.2% at Nissan and 17.9% at Ford thanks to big gains among both carmakers' strongest sellers. Nissan Altima sales gained 35.4% while Ford Escape sales spiked 52% — despite similar year-over-year incentives on both and lower dealership supply for the Escape.
It may seem bizarre that the Altima, then, isn't among the top 10 best-sellers. It's been there for ninth months straight, and in March it was the best-selling car (not truck) in America. But a year ago, sales were dismal — less than 17,000 in April 2012 — so even a healthy spike kept Nissan off April 2013's top 10.
The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord had higher-profile struggles. The Camry's sales drop could signal plateauing demand for Toyota's seventh-generation family sedan, whose year-over-year sales have declined for three straight months. The new Accord, meanwhile, is just 7 months old, and shoppers found significantly lower discounts versus the 2012 Accord a year ago. It's a factor that could affect Accord sales through autumn. Still, Ford didn't seem to have a problem with that. Anyone considering the new Fusion found a similar situation — lower discounts versus year-ago levels — but it didn't stop shoppers from flocking toward the popular sedan, whose sales boomed 23.7%.