Shift Toward Smaller Cars Continues to Grow

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It must be really frustrating for product planners and others in the auto industry as they try to predict what vehicles people will be buying. The price of fuel fluctuates so wildly year-to-year and yet every time the price goes down sales of larger SUVs and trucks increase and small cars languish on dealer lots.

Right now of course we have the opposite situation as we have been in a period of rising gas prices and, guess what, sales of small cars have grown – substantially in some cases.

Sales figures for April were released yesterday and as expected the was a big winner ending up as the fourth best selling car just behind the Honda Civic and just ahead of the and Toyota Corolla. Chevrolet Cruze sales were 180 percent higher than sales a year ago. Not surprising as the Cruze is a far superior car.

It's true that a single month of sales is not a clear indicator of a trend but the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze has now overtaken the in year-to-date sales to give it seventh position in the car sales chart behind the , , , , and the perennial leader, the .

On the truck side of the equation there is little change, with The the clear leader, as always, in sales volume over the . The and follow some way behind them in volume. Even these two compact SUVs, though, were outsold by more cars than usual during April, indicating a growing shift back to cars.

Overall the market continued its encouraging sales rebound in April with several companies – , , and — again reporting record sales for the month.

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