DETROIT (AP) -- After a tough year of earthquake-related shortages, Toyota is back.
The company's share of U.S. auto sales is expected to climb back to a level not seen since last year's Japanese earthquake, which disrupted production. Replenished supplies and hot sellers like the new Camry sedan and Prius C subcompact drove sales, analysts predict.
Toyota Motor Corp. and other automakers report their U.S. April sales Tuesday. Overall, the annual sales rate likely slowed compared with the blistering pace of February and March. But analysts aren't concerned, saying April had more Sundays than March and fewer cars are sold on Sundays
Chrysler was the first major automaker to report Tuesday, posting a 20-percent rise in sales. Top sellers included the Ram pickup, Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler 200 midsize sedan, which benefited from big rebates of $2,000 or more, analysts say.
The company, which has been on a roll, sold more than 141,000 vehicles last month, its best April in four years and the 25th-straight month of year-over-year sales gains.
Nissan Motor Co. is also expected to do well, although it also relied on big rebates to sell its Nissan Altima sedan, a strategy aimed to clear the model out of showrooms to make room for an all-new version.
But other carmakers are not expected to fare as well. Honda Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are both expected to report double-digit sales declines, according to Kelley Blue Book. Those carmakers will be hurt by Toyota's resurgence. And Honda is losing share even though it's spending an estimated $500 more per vehicle on incentives than Toyota, says Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence at TrueCar.
Here's what The Associated Press' reporters are finding:
CHRYSLER KEEPS ROLLING
Chrysler's 20-percent sales rise is far better than the increase expected for the rest of the auto industry. The company's top-selling Ram pickup saw sales jump 19 percent last month. Chrysler also was helped at the smaller end of the lineup. It sold more than 3,800 Fiat 500 mini-cars, four times the sales from a year earlier. Jeep and Chrysler brand sales were strong. Chrysler sales rose 56 percent, led by the 200 midsize sedan.
Chrysler's outlook for U.S. sales is optimistic. The company is forecasting an annual selling rate of 14.6 million cars and trucks, on the high end of analyst predictions.
At the end of April, Chrysler had enough cars and trucks to supply its dealers for 59 days. That's just below what's considered optimal to keep a good selection for customers. And it's far better than the Chrysler of old, which often had cars and trucks piled up on Detroit-area parking lots because dealers wouldn't take them.
GAS PRICES EASE
During April, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded fell 3 percent, from $3.9254 (March 31) to $3.809 (May 1).