Chrysler had its best April in seven years, boosted by a 52 percent gain in sales of Jeep brand SUVs. GM sales rose 7 percent, led by the Buick Encore small SUV and the Silverado pickup truck. Ford's F-150 pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., posted a 7.4 percent gain.
Analysts are expecting an industrywide sales gain of at least 8.5 percent compared with last April. That would mark the best April for the industry since 2005.
There were some soft spots. Ford's overall sales fell 1 percent in April, hurt by falling sales of smaller cars. At Chrysler, sales of its namesake brand dropped 21 percent while Dodge sales were flat.