TORRANCE, CA –– Out of the Detroit Big 3 automakers, Chrysler experienced the highest drop in fleet sales for the month of April when compared with figures from a year ago. General Motors and Ford sales results were within the same range of one another.

Chrysler LLC reported April U.S. total sales of 76,682 units, representing a 48-percent decrease versus 2008. Total April 2009 sales include a fleet reduction of 66 percent year-over-year for the same period, as the company continues to emphasize retail over fleet.

"The industry appears to have stabilized, as it's been fairly level for the past four months," said Jim Press, Chrysler LLC vice chairman and president said in the company statement. "We know where the bottom is and, as the economy struggles to recover, vehicle sales should follow."

General Motors dealers in the United States delivered 173,007 vehicles in April, down 34 percent compared with a year ago. However, when comparing GM's 2009 April sales with March, total volume was up 11 percent, or about 16,600 cars, crossovers and trucks, largely driven by a return to more normal volumes of fleet sales compared with a very weak first quarter, according to GM's sales report. GM's car sales compared with March were up nearly 2,900 vehicles (4 percent), truck sales increased more than 9,500 vehicles (16 percent), and crossover sales were up nearly 4,200 vehicles (14 percent).

"From a retail standpoint, GM and the industry continued at about the same selling rate as February and March. We see that stabilization, along with a firming up of our fleet business and improvement in Silverado and Sierra sales, as an encouraging sign," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing, in the report.

Ford fleet sales were down 30 percent compared to last year. Overall sales of Ford sport utility vehicles dropped the most out of the brand's vehicle segments, failing to reach even half of April 2008 sales.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet