Jeep brand breaks April US sales record, leads Fiat Chrysler to 6 pct. year-over-year increase

MarketsAssociated Press

Led by record sales of Jeeps, Fiat Chrysler posted a 6 percent U.S. sales gain last month, a sign that Americans continued to buy cars and trucks at a brisk pace.

But the results fell a little short of analysts' predictions, also showing that auto sales growth could be slowing.

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Fiat Chrysler said it sold just over 189,000 cars and trucks for its best April since 2007. The Jeep brand posted its best monthly sales at nearly 72,000, up 20 percent from a year ago.

The Cherokee compact SUV led the way with a 27 percent increase to just over 19,000, while the brand sold more than 4,200 new Renegade subcompact SUVs in their first full month at dealerships. Sales of the Ram pickup, Fiat Chrysler's top-selling vehicle, rose only 3 percent to just under 38,000, but that was still the best April ever for the trucks.

The TrueCar.com auto pricing site had expected Fiat Chrysler sales to rise 10.6 percent and Edmunds.com predicted a 7.5 percent increase.

Overall, industry analysts expect U.S. sales to rise around 6 percent when all automakers report their April results on Friday.