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April a boon for U.S. auto sales

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DETROIT — Ford, GM, Chrysler and Nissan all reported double-digit U.S. sales increases last month, signaling the best April for car and truck sales in six years.

Strong demand for the Ram pickup truck drove Chrysler’s sales up 11 percent, while the Escape small SUV and F-Series pickup helped Ford to an 18 percent gain. GM benefited from strong pickup truck sales. Nissan sales rose 23 percent over April of 2012.

The only laggard was Volkswagen, with a sales decline of 10 percent.

The gains are another sign that Americans continue to buy cars and trucks despite high unemployment and mixed economic signals. All automakers report monthly sales today, and industry analysts expect an overall increase of around 10 percent over April of last year. That would make it the best April since 2007.

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